The Atlantic

The Decades-Old Novel That Presages Today’s Fight for Facts

Uwe Johnson’s magnum opus Anniversaries, which catalogs the life of its protagonist for the span of a year, is a sharp exploration of the daily effort to preserve shared truths.
Source: AP / Arsh Raziuddin / The Atlantic

European modernists used the novel as a means of mapping metropolitan experience. From James Joyce’s immortalizing of “dear, dirty Dublin” in , to the grimy urban paean of Alfred Döblin’s , to Robert Musil’s elegy for imperial Vienna in , the city was no longer merely decorative scrim but a collaborative possibility, the ideal vessel for consciousness. Uwe Johnson’s , a sprawling novel about an East German émigré and her 10-year-old daughter as they navigate life on New York’s Upper West Side, is a natural heir to this tradition, if an unruly one. Johnson pairs the book’s late-modern élan—its complexity of structure, its synchronicities and leaps in time—with an uncommon commitment to the simplicity and moral necessity of facts, “the mirror of daily events.” Its unlikely, which Gesine, an admiring if astringent reader, calls “our tried and true supplier of reality.”

Vous lisez un aperçu, inscrivez-vous pour en lire plus.

Centres d'intérêt associés

Plus de The Atlantic

The Atlantic7 min de lectureAmerican Government
How to Undo One of Trump’s Worst, Most Despicable Policies
As President Joe Biden takes office, his administration will get to work reversing some of the Trump administration’s most controversial and destructive policies, including the elimination of key environmental protections, the creation of new immigra
The Atlantic3 min de lectureAmerican Government
‘Unity’ Is Not What America Needs Right Now
President Biden’s pursuit of solidarity is well intentioned. But without concrete plans to hold bad actors accountable, his efforts will be useless.
The Atlantic6 min de lectureMedical
Why Kids Might Be Key to Reaching Herd Immunity
A few days after Christmas, Molly Hering, 14, and her brother, Sam, 12, got their first shots as part of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trials for kids. Their mom had heard about a clinical trial being conducted at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and Mo