Visitation

Visitation A house on the forested bank of a Brandenburg lake outside Berlin once belonging to Erpenbeck s grandparents is the focus of this compact beautiful novel Encompassing over one hundred years of German

  • Title: Visitation
  • Author: Jenny Erpenbeck Susan Bernofsky
  • ISBN: 9780811218351
  • Page: 168
  • Format: Paperback
  • A house on the forested bank of a Brandenburg lake outside Berlin once belonging to Erpenbeck s grandparents is the focus of this compact, beautiful novel Encompassing over one hundred years of German history, from the nineteenth century to the Weimar Republic, from World War II to the Socialist German Democratic Republic, and finally reunification and its aftermath, ViA house on the forested bank of a Brandenburg lake outside Berlin once belonging to Erpenbeck s grandparents is the focus of this compact, beautiful novel Encompassing over one hundred years of German history, from the nineteenth century to the Weimar Republic, from World War II to the Socialist German Democratic Republic, and finally reunification and its aftermath, Visitation offers the life stories of twelve individuals who seek to make their home in this one magical little house The novel breaks into the everyday life of the house and shimmers through it, while relating the passions and fates of its inhabitants Elegant and poetic, Visitation forms a literary mosaic of the last century, tearing open wounds and offering moments of reconciliation, with its drama and its exquisite evocation of a landscape no political upheaval can truly change.

    One thought on “Visitation”

    1. Home is where the heart is Reading Neil MacGregror’s fascinating Germany: Memories of a Nation a few months ago amply affirmed I still have a long path to go in the sighting of Germany’s history and literature. Sensing this need, two marvelous friends were so kind to bring Jenny Erpenbeck’s novels to my attention, in particular Visitation (Heimsuchung). As Visitation is fiction which is ingeniously connected with episodes from Germany’s troubling contemporary history, this short novel wa [...]

    2. That it was published by New Directions played a significant role in my deciding to read this book before others I have lined up for the Women in Translation Month, and I thank my luck that I did. The protagonist of the novel is a house, a lakeside property outside Berlin, which has witnessed history's mood-swings from its origins as a pine forest owned by a local town mayor back in the 1600s CE down to our present times when the knocking down of the Berlin Wall forced it to change its inhabitan [...]

    3. Long time ago, in different time, in other era, when the world was young yet, when these hillocks were part of huge mountain range a glacier went through, crushing everything on its way, changing lay of the land, curving rocks and forming basins which filled with water. Former inhabitants, lions and saber-toothed tigers gone and then we entered on the scene, embracing that land and naming lake between hills the Sea of the Mark Brandenburg.Between silent green hummocks, amid pine grooves and alde [...]

    4. Imagine a geologist examining a cross section of a landscape. He would point out why this layer of rock is so compressed and why that one is less so, why this layer of gravel was trapped just there and what the shape and age of those fossils indicate. He would read the layers of the landscape as if he was reading a history book with illustrations. Jenny Erpenbeck reads the layers of twentieth century Germany in a similar way. Just as pockets of petrified sand beneath bedrock can still display a [...]

    5. oh, i love it when i get to review a book that elizabeth has just reviewed. as though i am going to be able to add anything to the discussion except a weak echo of "i agree! this book is good!!"so i will just quickly relate my experience with this book which is indeed pretty great.but not at first first it was killing me with boredom. i have been reading too much teen fiction as of late, and there, the pacing is perfect for hot summer and slipping attention span. this book is NOT for those who c [...]

    6. Perhaps eternal life already exists during a human lifetime, but since it looks different from what we're hoping for - something that transcends everything that's ever happened - since it looks instead like the old life we already knew, no one recognizes it. Yet, Jenny Erpenbeck demonstrates here that it is possible to capture the universal by examining the particular (like zooming into a Mandelbrot fractal image), amazingly in only a couple of hundred pages of personal histories succeeding each [...]

    7. Stunning. A grand summer house on a lake just outside Berlin is the focal point of twelve stories of those who arrest a space there from the turmoil in central Europe between the Weimar Republic and the post Re-unification period, with all the shifts and dislocations as ideologies and regimes pass. Attempts to fix themselves to a piece of earth are fruitless. In between each chapter we have the constant gardener, whose pragmatic planting, pruning and propagating is described in a tone of incanta [...]

    8. One word: brilliant. I just had some conversation on another review of Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio . This book is similar, but more masterful. Sold as a novel, it is really more of a novel in stories, centered around a plot of land on a lake and a house that apparently German writer Erpenbeck's family once owned. This accounts for the visceral details and the heavy emotion that hangs around the events that occur during the historical time period in which this book takes place outside Ber [...]

    9. This is a book about a small relatively unimportant piece of land in Germany and the people who happen to have some ties to that piece of land for a hundred years or so. It's just a piece of land alongside a lake. Except for some little bits on construction little changes physically on the piece of land, but being that it is in Germany, and in what would be called East Germany for about half of the 20th Century, and being what history is there are quite a few questions that can be explored just [...]

    10. Sometimes contact with a place transforms us. Erpenbeck traces for us German history in the last century through the lives and loves of people involved with a piece of land by a lake on which sits a summer house with an eyebrow window and a roof of thatch. This slim, quiet, extremely powerful novel carries with it the weight of change and allows us to inhabit history. There is a stillness, reserve, and lack of sentimentality about the story which paradoxically fills us with emotion. The house an [...]

    11. DissolutionThis prose poem by Jenny Erpenbeck is clearly art of the highest order, so much so that I feel a little inadequate reviewing it. It is the story of a house looking over a lake in Brandenburg, not far from Berlin. Built by a young architect at the turn of the century, it sees two world wars and several different regimes. Its successive inhabitants come and mean to stay—but increasingly they go, due to age, death, or exile. But the house and land are clearly the main characters; like [...]

    12. It is very rare that a book combines a mastery of language and cadence with an assured and innovative vision to redefine the literary landscape. Visitation is such a book. It is, to my mind, a contemporary masterpiece.It will be widely compared, no doubt, to Simon Mawer’s The Glass House, because its property on a Brandenburg lake outside of Berlin is at the heart of the novel. Yet in that book, Mr. Mawer sacrificed characters to themes. In Visitation, Ms. Erpenbeck does something far more dar [...]

    13. An instant favorite. What I’m most impressed with is her ability to be so distant and cold in her poetic approach, yet somehow the overall effect is relatable, and very human. Often when I read books that are poetic in nature (see: Maud Martha, Deep North, even Silk) I feel disconnected from the characters by a veil of constructed beauty. But even though this book has all that beauty and construction and a huge bag of tricks to boot, I always felt emotionally involved. And even though she uses [...]

    14. The new world is to devour the old one, the old one puts up a fight, and now new and old are living side by side in a single body. Where much is asked, more is left out.When a home is haunted by humans for a period of time, and I say home rather than house for the neighbors and the water and the burials out of fear and desolation, a circumscribing narrative that does not sound when plucked is no narrative at all. What, then, must be done? Perhaps the humans with their incessant need for successi [...]

    15. This is a swirling wash of dream-like fragments, memories, anchored by a lakeside home that withstands years of turbulent German history. The mundane, the poetic, the profound, and the tragic mingle together, indistinguishable, as in real life. I wish I could have been able to read this in the original German; the translation was stunning -- I can only imagine how even more stunning the original must have been.This book perfectly illustrates why I like so much. It is translated from the German, [...]

    16. msarki.tumblr/post/5335709In my adult lifetime I have lived in, while remodeling, four different houses. I no longer own any of these homes nor do I have any access to them other than the casual drive-by. But my sweat and brains remain a part of each of them, some rotting away as I am, and others being enjoyed and appreciated for the good work my wife and I did in making the houses aesthetic and hospitable when we were stewards of the properties. But none of these houses will remain forever, jus [...]

    17. I think this may be a masterpiece, but it’s not quite my cup of tea. Humble, slim, direct, economical, but also panoramic, experimental, political, all it lacks (unless I’m missing it) is a sense of humour. That and an entry to the world of dreams, which for me is (usually) what fiction is all about. It’s an earthbound book, and generally I like more sky, but it’s as if that weddedness to the earth is a discipline, an act of contrition. I respect that, but sometimes I chafed against the [...]

    18. A spare, stark, beautifully poetic miniature that tells the story of a house by a lake in the Brandenburg area of East Germany from the early 20th century to the present day. The structure of the book is unusual, and resembles Simon Mawer's The Glass Room, in which a place remains constant while a shifting cast of occupants, tenants, invaders and usurpers uses and abuses it for a variety of different purposes. This allows Erpenbeck to explore ideas of belonging to a place, ownership, inheritance [...]

    19. 4 and 1/2 starsI think maybe I would've given this 5 stars if I'd been able to read it straight through rather than in spurts while I was traveling. It's a prose poem of a novel, slim but encompassing the history of Germany, starting with a short prologue of the Ice Age to the building of a summer house in one particular wooded area with much more to follow. If I knew more of German history, I'm sure I would've gotten more out of it; but even without that knowledge, the ebb and flow of the seaso [...]

    20. I loved this short book that took me three days to read. The prose (great translator) is lyrical, poignant, factual, and subtle -- it short, it is beautiful. This is a story about place -- land on a lake in Brandenberg, Germany. For many generations it was in the hands of the mayor, until the mayor had no sons but four daughters. In the early 20th century, the may sells the parcel meant for daughter Klara, known as Klara's Wood, in three pieces - one to a cloth manufacturer who is Jewish, and on [...]

    21. What if the walls had not only ears, but eyes. Ah, the stories it could tell. But houses, like animals, are religiously circumspect. They are reflections, too, of their owners--in tastes, in care, in age. Visitation is the history of a house and 12 of its owners, a satisfying sandwich of time with thin layers between owners to talk of the gardener who cares for the grounds throughout. Set in Germany, the property reflects, too, that country's history.When the house is built, Erpenbeck waxes poet [...]

    22. Started and finished in a day. Erpenbeck’s principle dimension is time; she writes about the way it leaps, stops, rebounds, folds and repeats in such muscular but effortless prose. Visitation is a lot like The End of Days, or rather the other way around, and I’m always fascinated when a writer is compelled to return to their subject matter. It reminds me of Ali Smith’s recurrent stranger at the door, and seems to indicate something powerful and profound at work. If you can’t tell, I ador [...]

    23. German author Jenny Erpenbeck has written a book with interconnecting memories revolving around a beautiful place. The Prologue shows the creation of a lake in the Ice Age in what someday will be the Brandenburg forest in East Germany. Fast forward to more modern times when a parcel of lakefront property is divided. A Jewish family builds a bath house on one lot for day trips to the lake, while an architect constructs a marvelous house on the adjacent portion as a gift to his new wife.The house [...]

    24. Colourful is only that what she can still remember, surrounded by darkness of which she is at the core, her head [] carries colourful memories, memories of somebody, who she was. Probably was. Who was she? Whose head was her head? Who owns the memories? The "Girl ", who ponders these questions, is one of the protagonists in Jenny Erpenbeck's innovative and powerful novel "Visitation". Memories of innocent excitement and happiness of youth, of arriving, settling down, and then having to leave aga [...]

    25. An intriguing book by a very talented writer. The main character is a lake-side house, grounds and gardens located in Brandenburg. The story of the house is told through vignettes of the various occupants and visitors, from the 19th century and to late 20th. The gardener is the only constant across owners.Through short, tight and poetic prose, Erpenbeck covers Germany's history, the temporary nature of life, man's greed and the beauty of the simple life. She pulls no punches which includes a hau [...]

    26. Opening with the above epigraphs, Visitation is a rather stunning, although very short, novel of historical fiction that offers the stories of the inhabitants of a lakefront summer house in the woods of Brandenburg through the movement of time and history in Germany. The prologue opens twenty-four thousand years ago with an advancing glacier, then progresses geologically over the years until the Brandenburg lakes began to form. As the land comes to be settled, it too follows a natural progressio [...]

    27. "Colourful is only that what she can still remember, surrounded by darkness of which she is at the core, her head [] carries colourful memories, memories of somebody, who she was. Probably was. Who was she? Whose head was her head? Who owns the memories?" The "Girl ", who ponders these questions, is one of the protagonists in Jenny Erpenbeck's innovative and powerful novel "Visitation". Memories of innocent excitement and happiness of youth, of arriving, settling down, and then having to leave a [...]

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