BookBrowse Reviews Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck

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Go, Went, Gone

by Jenny Erpenbeck

Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck X
Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck
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    Sep 2017, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Chris Fredrick

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Go, Went, Gone is a passionate contribution to the debate on race, privilege and nationality and a beautifully written examination of an ageing man's quest to find meaning in his life.

Many of us probably remember the photograph of little Aylan Kurdi, a Syrian toddler, washed ashore on a beach in Turkey. That photo was published in September 2015, at the peak of the global refugee crisis (see 'Beyond the Book'). Europe braced itself to absorb millions of people, and by the end of 2015, Germany alone hosted a million refugees from many countries. Richard, the narrator of Jenny Erpenbeck's novel Go, Went, Gone, is a recently retired classics professor in Berlin who, without fully intending to, finds himself in the center of this geo-political upheaval.

At the book's outset, Richard is trying to adjust to retirement. He's unsure how to dress, how to think, and how to spend his time. One afternoon, while lost in his own thoughts, he walks right past ten African men, refugees who are staging a hunger strike in front of Berlin's Town Hall. Later that ...

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