The Book of Words

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New Directions Publishing, 2007 - Fiction - 93 pages
12 Reviews
A searing novella about coming of age in a land of tyranny, by one of Germany's most brilliant young authors.
In "The Book of Words," Jenny Erpenbeck captures with amazing virtuosity the inner life of a young girl who survives the totalitarian regime of a curiously unnamed South American country (most likely Argentina during it "dirty war"). Raised by parents whose real identity ends up shocking her, the girl comes of age in a country where gunshots are mistaken for blown tires, innocent citizens are dragged off buses, and tortured and disappeared friends and family return to visit her from the dead.

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Review: The Book of Words

User Review  - Daphna - Goodreads

Reaching the last page of this novella I took a deep breath and then turned back to the first page to reread it. From the very first page the narrator - at the same time a child, a teenager, a grownup ... Read full review

Review: The Book of Words

User Review  - Joan Winnek - Goodreads

I'm certainly glad I read this book before giving it to my granddaughter. It is NOT a book for children or even teenagers. I don't even know how many stars to give it. It is like no other book I've ... Read full review

Selected pages


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Section 3

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About the author (2007)

Jenny Erpenbeck was born in 1967 in East Berlin. After finishing high school, she trained as a bookbinder and then studied drama and music theater direction. Erpenbeck has won various awards, including most recently the prestigious Swiss Sothurner Literature Prize, and her works have been translated worldwide.

Susan Bernofsky is the acclaimed translator of Hermann Hesse, Robert Walser, and Jenny Erpenbeck, and the recipient of many awards, including the Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize and the Hermann Hesse Translation Prize. She teaches literary translation at Columbia University and lives in New York.

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