Manual The End of it All: A Novel

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The Explicit Ending

  1. The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck review – ‘only the inevitable is possible’
  2. Writer's Digest Magazine
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  4. After the End by Clare Mackintosh | Books

What draws them there? Why my window? Yet while both narrators have a penchant for questions that a different storyteller might incorporate as exposition, and though both books evoke elusively eerie moods, the comparisons come to an abrupt halt fairly early. Reid, on the other hand, supplements his first-person road-trip narrative with short, italicized, unattributed bits of dialogue in which a mysterious crime is being discussed:.

Not a wink. I can barely eat. You should have seen my wife when I told her. I thought she was going to be sick. When did this unspecified but promisingly horrific event occur? The populist Gutenbergers prate on about how digital texts linked to social media will allow readers to take part in a public conversation.

There is one question alone that you must ask yourself in order to establish whether the serious novel will still retain cultural primacy and centrality in another 20 years. We don't know when the form of reading that supported the rise of the novel form began, but there were certain obvious and important way-stations.

The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck review – ‘only the inevitable is possible’

We can cite the introduction of word spaces in seventh-century Ireland, and punctuation throughout medieval Europe — then comes standardised spelling with the arrival of printing, and finally the education reforms of the early s, which meant the British Expeditionary Force of was probably the first universally literate army to take to the field. Just one of the ironies that danced macabre attendance on this most awful of conflicts was that the conditions necessary for the toppling of solitary and silent reading as the most powerful and important medium were already waiting in the wings while Sassoon, Graves and Rosenberg dipped their pens in their dugouts.

Understanding Media tells us little about what media necessarily will arise, only what impact on the collective psyche they must have. In the late 20th century, a culture typified by a consumerist ethic was convinced that it — that we — could have it all.

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This "having it all" was even ascribed its own cultural era: the postmodern. The main objection to this is, I think, at once profoundly commonsensical and curiously subtle. By the same token, if — as many seem keen to assert — postmodernism has already run its course, then what should we say has replaced it, post-postmodernism, perhaps? The use of montage for transition; the telescoping of fictional characters into their streams of consciousness; the abandonment of the omniscient narrator; the inability to suspend disbelief in the artificialities of plot — these were always latent in the problematic of the novel form, but in the early 20th century, under pressure from other, juvenescent, narrative forms, the novel began to founder.

You may find it difficult to concentrate, given the vagaries of your own ageing Gutenberg mind, while your reading material itself may also have a senescent feel, what with its greying stock and bleeding type — the equivalent, in codex form, of old copies of the Reader's Digest left lying around in dentists' waiting rooms. I've often thought that western European socialism survived as a credible ideological alternative up until purely because of the Soviet counterexample: those on the left were able to point east and say, I may not altogether know how socialism can be achieved, but I do know it's not like this.

So it was with the novel: we may not have known altogether how to make it novel again, but we knew it couldn't go the way of Hollywood.

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Now film, too, is losing its narrative hegemony, and so the novel — the cultural Greece to its world-girdling Rome — is also in ineluctable decline. I repeat: just because you're paranoid it doesn't mean they aren't out to get you. I was affronted, not so much by the money although pro rata it meant I was being paid considerably less than I would have working in McDonald's , but by not receiving the sanctification of hard covers.

The agent I consulted told me to accept without demur: it was, he said, nigh-on impossible for new writers to get published — let alone paid.

At that time the reconfiguration of the medium was being felt through the ending of the Net Book Agreement, the one-time price cartel that shored up publishers' profits by outlawing retailer discounting. I switched to writing the first drafts of my fictions on a manual typewriter about a decade ago because of the inception of broadband internet. All that strangers driving along the road saw of the place was the main house. Life is unfair, thought the passers-by.

Peace reigned behind the house and in the little park and the wood beyond it. There has to be a place where you feel you belong.

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There is intense foreboding everywhere, and little resembling peace reigns inside or outside the Georgenhof. We are in East Prussia an area that is now mostly in Poland ; the victorious and understandably vengeful Russian Army is expected at any moment from the eastern border. Bombs fall, not far away, on the Mitkau railway station. Tanks and trucks rumble past the big house. Should the family join relatives in Berlin, or Uncle Josef in Albertsdorf? Kempowski patiently introduces us to a privileged, insulated, and politically apathetic world.

History will infect this family like a virus, but it is a slow-incubating one. Run into the woods? Yes, but not every night. The patriarch, Eberhard von Globig, is serving in Italy, an officer in charge of supplies. Left in the house are his beautiful, languorous, and withdrawn wife, Katharina, and their fair-haired, inquisitive twelve-year-old son, Peter.

Her bedroom smells of ripe apples and dead mice, and contains a portrait of Hitler. Life in this little universe stumbles on. An aged schoolmaster, Dr. Wagner, sweet-natured and a bit of a bore, comes every day to tutor young Peter. Bitter, full of petit-bourgeois resentment and genuine grief his son died fighting in Poland , Drygalski is suspicious of the entitled and aloof Globig clan, and has been watching them for years.

The Globigs, in turn, laugh at him, as a jumped-up local tyrant. A dark finale is building, barometrically. A series of unexpected visitors jolt the Georgenhof world; they are harbingers of a general exodus that will eventually include the Globigs. A political economist and avid stamp collector is on his way to Mitkau, and takes shelter for the night. He asks his hosts if they saw the fires burning last night. He also steals a stamp. Kempowski gives us a hundred pages of this steady pressure-building—delicately achieved, with a constantly flickering humor—until the barometer breaks.

The event that bundles the Globig family out of their house and into the general German experience is precipitated by Pastor Brahms. He asks Katharina if she will house, for a single night, a political refugee, a man on the run. Katharina, elegant, passive, drifting through an unhappy marriage, is far from heroic.

After the End by Clare Mackintosh | Books

The refugee, Erwin Hirsch, is a Jew from Berlin, and has been hiding from his persecutors for four years. Katharina tells no one else in the house; Hirsch spends the night, and most of the next day, safely ensconced inside the refuge. Kempowski treats the encounter with an almost uncanny neutrality.