The author is the winner of the National Book Award for Fiction. In his magnificent new work of fiction, acclaimed author William T. Vollmann turns his acute intelligence to the warring authoritarian cultures of Germany and the USSR in the twentieth century. "Europe Central" is composed of a series of intertwined stories which examine a vast array ...
The author is the winner of the National Book Award for Fiction. In his magnificent new work of fiction, acclaimed author William T. Vollmann turns his acute intelligence to the warring authoritarian cultures of Germany and the USSR in the twentieth century. "Europe Central" is composed of a series of intertwined stories which examine a vast array of characters, ranging from generals to martyrs, officers to poets, traitors to artists and musicians. "Europe Central" is a meticulously researched, powerfully written work of staggering scope, dealing in the moral decisions made by people in the most testing of times and offering a bold and mesmerising perspective on human actions during wartime.
Publishers Weekly, 2005-02-07 In the small set of America's best contemporary novelists, Vollmann is the perpetual comet. Every two years or so he flashes across the sky with another incredibly learned, incredibly written, incredibly long novel. Two years ago, with Argall, he easily bested John Barth in the writing of 17th-century prose while taking up the tired story of the settlement of Jamestown and making it absolutely riveting. His latest departs from his usual themes-the borders between natives and Westerners, or prostitutes and johns-to take on Central Europe in the 20th century. "The winged figures on the bridges of Berlin are now mostly flown, for certain things went wrong in Europe...." What went wrong is captured in profiles of real persons (Kathe Kollwitz, Kurt Gerstein, Dmitri Shostakovich, General Paulus and General Vlasov) as well as mythic personages (a shape-shifting Nazi communications officer and creatures from the German mythology Wagner incorporated into his operas). Operation Barbarossa-the German advance into Russia in 1941, and the subsequent German defeat at Stalingrad and Kursk-is central here, with the prewar and postwar scenes radiating out from it, as though the war were primary, not the nations engaged in it. The strongest chapter is a retelling of Kurt Gerstein's life; Gerstein was the SS officer who tried to warn the world about the concentration camps while working as the SS supply agent for the gas chambers. The weakest sections of the book are devoted to the love triangle between Shostakovich, Elena Konstantinovskaya and film director Roman Karmen. Throughout, Vollman develops counternarratives to memorialize those millions who paid the penalties of history. Few American writers infuse their writing with similar urgency. Agent, Susan Golomb. 5-city author tour. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Alibris, the Alibris logo, and Alibris.com are registered trademarks of Alibris, Inc.
Copyright in bibliographic data and cover images is held by Nielsen Book Services Limited, Baker & Taylor, Inc., or by their respective licensors, or by the publishers, or by their respective licensors. For personal use only. All rights reserved. All rights in images of books or other publications are reserved by the original copyright holders.