Book summary: Things that Disappear


“I remember farewells,” is one of the sentences with which Erpenbeck begins her short entries in Things that disappear. The keywords this book of farewells is all about include Palast der Republik, bulky waste, memories, socks, courtyard without boundaries, girlfriend, oven and coal, stolen goods, the middle of nowhere, men, the simple life, the Warsaw ghetto, politeness, words, mothers, drip catcher, years, visits to the cemetery and clever comments.

Jenny Erpenbeck bids farewell to all of these things: sometimes in deep sorrow, sometimes with one last melancholic bow, sometimes with humour. Things that disappear was the title of her column in the FAZ supplement, from which many of these collected scraps of everyday life have been drawn. Together they create a book about the momentariness of everything earthly.
This is Jenny Erpenbeck’s most personal book to date.

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