The Old Child by Jenny Erpenbeck

The Old Child

Jenny Erpenbeck

To begin with I didn't enjoy the repetitive narrative of this odd little novella but 'the girl this, the girl that...' gave the book a rhythm, which carried me through to the end in no time at all.


The girl is terribly clumsy. She cannot even walk properly. While she is attempting to cross the schoolyard, she knocks into children who are playing ball or chatting in little groups - one of the smallest boys grins at her and asks: Are you the new teacher?, belches in her face and scoots off. The girl flees into a side entrance of the school building and has leapt up three wooden steps when she stops short, as if she'd come to a wall: there on the landing a couple is kissing, a tangle of hair and hands and trousers. Suddenly she is unable to see, she looks but sees nothing .... She opens her eyes as wide as she can, but she sees nothing.

  • Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
  • Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels

Books with similar mood

Pobby and Dingan

Ben Rice

The Dinner Guest

Gabriela Ybarra


Kim Thuy

King Crow

Michael Stewart

Bar Balto

Faiza Guene

Cairo Stories

Anne-Marie Drosso

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage

Alice Munro

Madame Verona Comes Down the Hill

Dimitri Verhulst

The End of the Alphabet

C S Richardson

So Lucky

Nicola Griffith

Wolfy and the Strudelbakers

Zvi Jagendorf

The Translator

Leila Aboulela

The Atmospheric Railway

Shena Mackay

White Ravens

Owen Sheers

Empty Words

Mario Levrero

The Travelling Cat Chronicles

Hiro Arikawa

Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun

Sarah Ladipo Manyika


Judith Hermann

Bowing to Winter

June Hall

The Dog

Kerstin Ekman

No Word from Gurb

Eduardo Mendoza


Mick Kitson

The Five People You Meet in Heaven

Mitch Albom

The Ice Age

Paul Farley


Jackie Kay

Fear and Trembling

Amelie Northomb

The Orange Grove

Larry Tremblay


Tom Campbell

The Report

Jessica Francis Kane

Pereira Maintains

Antonio Tabucchi

The Missing

Tim Gautreaux

Another Gulmohar Tree

Aamer Hussein

The Dovecote

Stephanie Dummler

Adios Hemingway

Leonardo Fuentes

The Plato Papers

Peter Ackroyd

The Edge of the Crowd

Ross Gilfillan

Alpha Male

William Brandt

No and Me

Delphine de Vigan

The Art of Contraception

Susie Wild

Molly Fox's Birthday

Deirdre Madden

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Mohsin Hamid

The Hunters

Clare Messud

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

Dai Sijie

How to be a Kosovan Bride

Naomi Hamill

Dance by the Canal

Kerstin Hensel

The Last Word

Mark Illis

Down the Rabbit Hole

Juan Pablo Villalobos

The Missing Head of Damasceno Monteiro

Antonio Tabucchi

Changes and Dreams

Glenda Beagan