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9781681374352

Marrow and Bone

by ;
  • ISBN13:

    9781681374352

  • ISBN10:

    1681374358

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2020-03-24
  • Publisher: New York Review of Books

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Summary

A moving, darkly funny road trip novel about World War II, returning to one's birthplace, and coming to terms with tragedy.

West Germany, 1988, just before the fall of the Berlin Wall: Jonathan Fabrizius, a middle-aged erstwhile journalist, has a comfortable existence in Hamburg, bankrolled by his furniture-manufacturing uncle. He lives with his girlfriend Ulla in a grand, decrepit prewar house that just by chance escaped annihilation by the Allied bombers. One day Jonathan receives a package in the mail from the Santubara Company, a luxury car company, commissioning him to travel in their newest V8 model through the People’s Republic of Poland and to write about the route for a car rally. Little does the company know that their choice location is Jonathan’s birthplace, for Jonathan is a war orphan from former East Prussia, whose mother breathed her last fleeing the Russians and whose father, a Nazi soldier, was killed on the Baltic coast. At first Jonathan has no interest in the job, or in dredging up ancient family history, but as his relationship with Ulla starts to wane, the idea of a return to his birthplace, and the money to be made from the gig, becomes more appealing. What follows is a darkly comic road trip, a queasy misadventure of West German tourists in Communist Poland, and a reckoning that is by turns subtle, satiric, and genuine. Marrow and Bone is an uncomfortably funny and revelatory odyssey by one of the most talented and nuanced writers of postwar Germany.

Author Biography

After World War II, Walter Kempowski (1929–2007) settled in Hamburg, but on returning to his hometown of Rostock in the late 1940s was sentenced by a Soviet military tribunal to twenty-five years in prison for espionage. His immense project Echo Soundings, which gathers firsthand accounts, diaries, letters, and memoirs of World War II, is considered a modern classic. NYRB Classics publishes his novel, All for Nothing

Charlotte Collins studied English literature at Cambridge and was a radio journalist in Germany before becoming a literary translator. In 2017 she was awarded the Goethe-Institut’s Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize for her translation of Robert Seethaler’s A Whole Life. She lives in London.

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