Go, Went, Gone Jenny Erpenbeck
A retired university professor in Berlin befriends a group of African asylum seekers and attempts to help them in various ways, so begins this sensitive and powerful novel. It cleverly portrays the culture gap as neither party knows anything about each other’s history despite Richard’s academic credentials, and their interactions show how the help he offers is informed by his own view of what is essential. Their common ground is hard won but the echoes of the East German perspective ripple through the book, without offering redemption the novel’s main power is the subtle way it humanises all the characters. A must read.
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