MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Summary and book reviews of Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck

Go, Went, Gone

by Jenny Erpenbeck

Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck X
Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Paperback:
    Sep 2017, 320 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Chris Fredrick
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

An unforgettable German bestseller about the European refugee crisis: "Erpenbeck will get under your skin" (Washington Post Book World)

Go, Went, Gone is the masterful new novel by the acclaimed German writer Jenny Erpenbeck, "one of the most significant German-language novelists of her generation" (The Millions). The novel tells the tale of Richard, a retired classics professor who lives in Berlin. His wife has died, and he lives a routine existence until one day he spies some African refugees staging a hunger strike in Alexanderplatz. Curiosity turns to compassion and an inner transformation, as he visits their shelter, interviews them, and becomes embroiled in their harrowing fates. Go, Went, Gone is a scathing indictment of Western policy toward the European refugee crisis, but also a touching portrait of a man who finds he has more in common with the Africans than he realizes. Exquisitely translated by Susan Bernofsky, Go, Went, Gone addresses one of the most pivotal issues of our time, facing it head-on in a voice that is both nostalgic and frightening.

Go, Went, Gone: Excerpt

The ghosts, Karon says, only come as far as the Italian coast. They don't cross over into Europe. Immediately after his arrival in Lampedusa, he had three more dreams and he hasn't had a single one since. The ghosts also demand their tribute on the crossing, he says. For this reason, it makes no sense to stop a person who loses his mind during the crossing and jumps into the water. One single time, Karon says, a miracle occurred. A man had fallen from the boat into the water, and the captain didn't want to lose time turning the boat around, but he at least turned off the motor for a minute. A few men called out the man's name, all of them looked to see whether he might still be keeping his head above water somewhere, but you couldn't see him anywhere. Then everything became quiet for a moment. The sea grew calm and looked as smooth as a mirror, and suddenly two dolphins came swimming up close together, and between them they were ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for 3 months or $12 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

In Go, Went, Gone, Richard gives of himself, choosing to see, to better understand, and to sympathize with people who, on the surface, seem so much different from himself. Without Richard, we may not meet someone like Apollo who speaks Tamasheq, Hausa, Arabic, Italian, and French in addition to the German he's learning. The new immigrants' stories make the abstraction of the refugee crisis more tangible. They remind us that borders are arbitrarily drawn lines of power and that we all belong to the same humanity...continued

Full Review (639 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Chris Fredrick).

Media Reviews

Vogue
Dreamlike, almost incantatory prose.

The New Yorker
Erpenbeck's prose, intense and fluent, is luminously translated by Susan Bernofsky.

The New York Review of Books
Wonderful, elegant, and exhilarating, ferocious as well as virtuosic.

Publishers Weekly
The narrative emerges as an insightful call to conscience and an undeniable argument for our common humanity.

Library Journal
Occasionally slow-moving but a stunning and intimate look into the refugee crisis; refreshingly, the characters don't finally embrace sentimentally but inch toward understanding.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. A lyrical, urgent artistic response to a history that is still unfolding.

Reader Reviews

Tom Matamoros

Exceptional literature.
Exceptional literature.

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for 3 months or $12 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

A 2015 Snapshot of the Global Refugee Crisis

Go, Went, Gone is set in Berlin during the thick of the ongoing international refugee crisis. Germany and many other countries have become a destination for those who leave home for reasons of violence, conflict, persecution, human rights violations, poverty, and war.

The historic event, now termed the Global Refugee Crisis or European Migrant Crisis, refers to the millions of people forcibly displaced in and around 2015. According to the UN Refugee Agency "By the end of 2016, 65.6 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations... and the world's forcibly displaced population remained at a record high." Of these, 22.5 million were refugees at the end of ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for 3 months or $12 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Go, Went, Gone, try these:

  • Travelers jacket

    Travelers

    by Helon Habila

    Published 2020

    About this book

    More books by this author

    A startlingly imaginative exploration of the African diaspora in Europe, by one of our most acclaimed international writers.

  • The Beekeeper of Aleppo jacket

    The Beekeeper of Aleppo

    by Christy Lefteri

    Published 2019

    About this book

    This unforgettable novel puts human faces on the Syrian war with the immigrant story of a beekeeper, his wife, and the triumph of spirit when the world becomes unrecognizable.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for 3 months or $12 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Revisioners
    The Revisioners
    by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton
    The chapters of Margaret Wilkerson Sexton's second novel, The Revisioners, alternate between three ...
  • Book Jacket: Mary Toft; or, The Rabbit Queen
    Mary Toft; or, The Rabbit Queen
    by Dexter Palmer
    The year is 1726 and the sleepy town of Godalming has been rocked by scandal. Called to the bedside ...
  • Book Jacket: Life Undercover
    Life Undercover
    by Amaryllis Fox
    Life Undercover, a riveting true-adventure memoir, reveals how and why a young woman decides to work...
  • Book Jacket: Celestial Bodies
    Celestial Bodies
    by Jokha Alharthi
    One typically expects to find a detailed family tree adorning the opening pages of, say, an epic ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Lost Man
by Jane Harper

"Strong characters, riveting plot and an honest look at life in the Australian outback make it easy to give this 5-stars!"
—BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Lady Clementine
    by Marie Benedict

    An illuminating look at one of history's most unusual and extraordinary women, Clementine Churchill.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Father of Lions
    by Louise Callaghan

    A true-to-life narrative of one man's remarkable quest to save the Mosul Zoo.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Giveaway!
Win American Dirt

"A Grapes of Wrath for our times." - Don Winslow

This debut is already being hailed as a new American classic, and is the first book to receive a perfect 5-stars from BookBrowse reviewers!

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I I A Broke, D F I

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.