James Wood on Walter Kempowski’s All For Nothing

Set in the final days of the Third Reich, All for Nothing is a tale of national and personal defeat.
Walter Kempowski, All For Nothing
Walter Kempowski, All For Nothing

“Imagine, for a moment, a German novel about the final months of the Second World War, an epic tale of national collapse and shameful private defeat, the ruined landscape ribboned with refugees. Now imagine such a book written by a German who lived through those bitter months as a teen-ager, but written with a light touch, almost quizzically, the entire story suffused with an air of speculative detachment. I wouldn’t have thought it could be done. Then I encountered Walter Kempowski’s extraordinary novel All for Nothing (New York Review Books), first published in German in 2006, and now available in Anthea Bell’s vital translation.”

Source: The New Yorker

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