Anniversaries II: From the Life of Gesine Cresspahl

Uwe Johnson, Author, Leila Vennewitz, Translator, Walter W. Arndt, Translator Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $29.95 (644p) ISBN 978-0-15-107562-1
In this second volume of his gigantic novel four volumes in the original German edition) Johnson resumes where he left off in the earlier work, Anniversaries, published here in 1975. German expatriate Gesine Cresspahl lives with her daughter in New York City. By intricate formal design, the narrative and historical focus alternate between her life in the '60s at the pitch of the Vietnam War and her early years in Germany before and during WW II and under Soviet occupation, as she attempts to recover by memory and imagination the turbulent past and to free her father from the stigma of having ""gone along'' with the Nazis. Though their lives are presented in immense detail, the characters are more nearly points of reference for a panoramic survey of German social and political history. Johnson, who lived here for an extended period, relies on his ideal reader to move easily in the wreckage of modern history, its political convolutions and cultural atmosphere. When he died in 1984 at age 50, he was recognized as one of the more talented members of his gifted generation; and this engrossing final work, while it is sometimes trying, will prove to be his monument. (September 30)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1987
Release date: 09/01/1987
Paperback - 660 pages - 978-0-15-601172-3
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