Visitation (New Directions Paperbook) (Paperback)
November 2010 Indie Next List
“A spare, exquisite gem of a novel, Jenny Erpenbeck's Visitation stopped me cold. The story follows the life of one house on the banks of a Bradenburg lake, outside of Berlin, and the inhabitants who reside there over the course of one hundred years. A fierce and wildly intelligent look at how we live our lives, both in respite and in duress, which things have meaning, and what we need to call a place a home. Visitation is a biography of a place, a story of displacement and irreparable loss, and an intimate and deeply personal exploration of the private places we cultivate to house our souls. This book will change you.”
— Rachel Meier, The Booksmith, San Francisco, CA
Summer 2019 Reading Group Indie Next List
“A brilliantly devastating look at the 20th century, the inevitability of mortality, and the tragedy of wastefulness inherent in the march of time, told as much by the people who lived through it as the place they existed in. A short, beautiful, and heartbreaking masterpiece that could only be the vision of one of our most thoughtful and intricately humane authors.”
— Justin Souther, Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, NC
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, 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.