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Kairos (2021)

por Jenny Erpenbeck

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
26710100,235 (3.56)37
"Jenny Erpenbeck (the author of Go, Went, Gone and Visitation) is an epic storyteller and arguably the most powerful voice in contemporary German literature. Erpenbeck's new novel Kairos-an unforgettably compelling masterpiece tells the story of the romance begun in East Berlin at the end of the 1980s when nineteen-year-old Katharina meets by chance a married writer in his fifties named Hans. Their passionate yet difficult long-running affair takes place against the background of the declining GDR, through the upheavals wrought by its dissolution in 1989 and then what comes after. In her unmistakable style and with enormous sweep, Erpenbeck describes the path of the two lovers, as Katharina grows up and tries to come to terms with a not always ideal romance, even as a whole world with its own ideology disappears. As the Times Literary Supplement writes: "The weight of history, the particular experiences of East and West, and the ways in which cultural and subjective memory shape individual identity has always been present in Erpenbeck's work. She knows that no one is all bad, no state all rotten, and she masterfully captures the existential bewilderment of this period between states and ideologies." In the opinion of her superbly gifted translator Michael Hofmann, Kairos is the great post-Unification novel. And, as The New Republic has commented on his work as a translator: "Hofmann's translation is invaluable-it achieves what translations are supposedly unable to do: it is at once 'loyal' and 'beautiful.'""--… (mais)
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1986 to 1990 or so, East Berlin. Teenager Katharina meets Hans, 10 years older than her father, on a bus one day. And so begins a relationship that lasts until his death some 6-8 years later.

She is naive and curious, he is a serial cheater who can be angry and cruel. She knows no better. His wife and son put up with it.

What makes this most interesting to me is its setting in late-stage East Berlin. Katharina has lived her entire life with the current government. Hans was just young enough to skip being canon fodder in WW2. The real dystopian nature of this time and place gives a different twist to a story that is not unusual yet is unusual. Her father accepts it though finds it weird. There is no church community to care. His wife and son are annoyed, but Ingrid accepts it and Ludwig (a younger teen) avoids Katharina as she avoids him. And then the wall comes down. Katharina is nervous and scared, wary about just walking over to a place she has needed permission to visit in the past. Jobs become scarce--even Hans gets nervous. I think this is the first novel I have ever read set in this time and place.

After finishing the book I reread the Prologue, as the book starts at the end, years later. ( )
  Dreesie | May 11, 2024 |
19. Kairos by Jenny Erpenbeck
reader: Lisa Flanagan
OPD: 2021, translation: from German by Michael Hofmann (2023)
format: 10:25 audible audiobook (336 pages in hardcover)
acquired: Mar 21 listened: Mar 21 – Apr 5
rating: 4
genre/style: contemporary fiction theme: Booker2024
locations: East Berlin 1980’s, 1990’s
about the author: German author and opera director, born in East Berlin in 1967

My 3rd from the International Booker Longlist (the shortlist comes out Tuesday). This one, from an East Berlin-born author, captures the atmosphere of East Berlin in the last years before the wall came down.

I really enjoyed this. There’s a creepy aspect to get past - the relationship of a 19 yr old girl and a 53 yr old married man with a son. You will need to come to some terms with that if you want to get through this.

What i enjoyed was how the history and the times were reflected in and echoed through this relationship. I don’t think the relationship was purely symbolic. It had its own life. But the nature of it demands comparison and consideration in that light. Hans, born in 1933, was shaped by Nazi Germany without the guilt of compliance. He experienced all the post-ww2 mess, displacement, Soviet control and Iron Curtain isolation. Pre-and-post stasi, if you like. Katarina was born in 1967 in East Berlin. She’s always known the wall and East Germany is her entire experience.

Their relationship, the way they embrace, the ways they tangle and struggle, do various things, and the way it evolves after the fall of the wall, in each of them it reflects their histories and what they have experienced and know. I found that kind of beautiful.

I was fascinated by the nature of being in this East Berlin in the waning days of the GDR. It's hard to capture. Erpenbeck's version is ominous and unoptimistic, but there is also something stable about it, a lack of chaos, a slower pace allowing a different sense of art and history. This was quickly lost in unification.

I want to mention the prose. It works but has an unusual technique. It’s largely an odd prose of association where adjacent sentences are referencing different things. Paragraphs become collages of mixed association. You can still follow what’s going on without trouble. I found this is much easier to see on the page when I borrowed a library copy. But I used audio, and it was intense trying to mix it all while still taking in the main storyline. The audio production is very good, but I definitely missed stuff.

All three books so far from the International Booker longlist have left me in slightly odd state, a feeling of reading something different and unfamiliar, creating some distance between myself and the book. Strange.

Anyway, this is a nice novel, if you can tolerate the core relationship.

2024
https://www.librarything.com/topic/358760#8498763 ( )
  dchaikin | Apr 7, 2024 |
Boring ( )
  ghefferon | Jan 18, 2024 |
Katharina and Hans meet on a bus in East Berlin and have a long running, complicated, intense affair. She is a 19 year old student, he is quite a lot older, a married academic. Their story unfolds against a backdrop of political and social change, as it starts in 1986, in what will turn out to be 3 years before the Berlin Wall comes down.

While Hans can't commit to her, he is possessive and jealous of his lover. As she grows up and the changes in Germany have very different impacts on Katharina and Hans - more opportunities for her, whereas he is facing the end of a relatively privileged existence in East Germany, with secure academic employment and status. Things become unpleasant with a lot of emotional manipulation and abuse and I wished Katharina would get out of this increasingly toxic relationship much sooner than she actually did. The story is framed by a prologue in which Katharina looks back, decades later.

I found this novel a challenging and thought provoking read. ( )
  elkiedee | Jan 3, 2024 |
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Erpenbeck, Jennyautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Flanagan, LisaNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Hofmann, MichaelTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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"Jenny Erpenbeck (the author of Go, Went, Gone and Visitation) is an epic storyteller and arguably the most powerful voice in contemporary German literature. Erpenbeck's new novel Kairos-an unforgettably compelling masterpiece tells the story of the romance begun in East Berlin at the end of the 1980s when nineteen-year-old Katharina meets by chance a married writer in his fifties named Hans. Their passionate yet difficult long-running affair takes place against the background of the declining GDR, through the upheavals wrought by its dissolution in 1989 and then what comes after. In her unmistakable style and with enormous sweep, Erpenbeck describes the path of the two lovers, as Katharina grows up and tries to come to terms with a not always ideal romance, even as a whole world with its own ideology disappears. As the Times Literary Supplement writes: "The weight of history, the particular experiences of East and West, and the ways in which cultural and subjective memory shape individual identity has always been present in Erpenbeck's work. She knows that no one is all bad, no state all rotten, and she masterfully captures the existential bewilderment of this period between states and ideologies." In the opinion of her superbly gifted translator Michael Hofmann, Kairos is the great post-Unification novel. And, as The New Republic has commented on his work as a translator: "Hofmann's translation is invaluable-it achieves what translations are supposedly unable to do: it is at once 'loyal' and 'beautiful.'""--

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