The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck

The End of Days

Jenny Erpenbeck

One of only a handful of books to make me cry, this novel follows a woman through a series of possible lives with each episode leading to a different time and place. I was amazed by the historical scope of such a slim volume, and for a story in which death occurs so frequently, this was a deeply moving yet life-affirming read.

Extract

But time has blurred all those things that happened for the last time without it being called the last time. At some point her mother had pinned up her hair for her for the last time. At some point she herself had washed the dishes for the last time while her sister sat at the kitchen table doing her homework. At some point she sat in Krasni Mak for the last time. At many points during her life she had done something for the last time without knowing it. Did that mean that death was not a moment but a front, one that was as long as life? And so was she tumbling not only out of this world, but out of all possible worlds?

Parallels
  • Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
  • In Times of Fading Light by Eugen Ruge