Anna Seghers and Others
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Anna Seghers’s Transit is an existential, political, literary thriller that explores the agonies of boredom, the vitality of storytelling, and the plight of the exile with extraordinary compassion and insight.
Having escaped from a Nazi concentration camp in Germany in 1937, and later a camp in Rouen, the nameless twenty-seven-year-old German narrator of Seghers’s multilayered masterpiece ends up in the dusty seaport of Marseille. Along the way he is asked to deliver a letter to a man named Weidel in Paris and discovers Weidel has committed suicide, leaving behind a suitcase containing letters and the manuscript of a novel. As he makes his way to Marseille to find Weidel’s widow, the narrator assumes the identity of a refugee named Seidler, though the authorities think he is really Weidel. There in the giant waiting room of Marseille, the narrator converses with the refugees, listening to their stories over pizza and wine, while also gradually piecing together the story of Weidel, whose manuscript has shattered the narrator’s “deathly boredom,” bringing him to a deeper awareness of the transitory world the refugees inhabit as they wait and wait for that most precious of possessions: transit papers.
Had to get this for Academic Decathalon, but all in all it wasn’t a bad read. Just be prepared to feel a little ‘out of body’ in some chapters. Despite this, nothing can ever be as bad as the shitshow that was ‘A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek’ by Annie Dillard. That was a very bad year.
It's certainly something...
It isn't bad. It's just overwhelming and at times dull with just the repetitiveness of everything which I suppose is a pretty good representation of the transit system they had in place.
- Category: Fiction & Literature
- Published: May 07, 2013
- Publisher: New York Review Books
- Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
- Print Length: 280 Pages
- Language: English