Books Beneath the Bridge: "Anniversaries", with Damion Searls & Guests
August 12, 2019, 7:00 PM
Damion Searls, translator of Uwe Johnson's "Anniversaries", will be joined in a reading by friends of the bookstore for a reading for our annual evening at Brooklyn Bridge Park.
For six summer Mondays, independent bookstores of Brooklyn curate readings for Books Beneath the Bridge, with discussions, signings and beautiful skyline views. Community Bookstore is thrilled to host Damion Searls and his fellow readers on Monday, August 12 at 7 pm, in celebration of the landmark publication from NYRB Classics of "Anniversaries," the book Hannah Arendt called "a masterpiece."
This reading will be at the Granite Prospect amphitheater, Pier 1, in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Click here for directions.
Damion Searls is a translator from German, Norwegian, French, and Dutch and a writer in English. He is the author of a book on Hermann Rorschach and the Rorschach test, and has translated many classic modern writers, including Proust, Rilke, Nietzsche, Walser, Ingeborg Bachmann, Alfred Döblin, Jon Fosse, Elfriede Jelinek, and Nescio, edited a new abridged edition of Thoreau's Journal, and produced a lost work of Melville's. Searls grew up in New York City, studied German philosophy at Harvard and American literature at UC Berkeley, and has received writing and translating awards from PEN America, PEN Center USA, the Netherland America Foundation, the University of California, and the Austrian, Belgian, and Dutch governments. He lives with his wife and son in Brooklyn.
Late in 1967, Uwe Johnson set out to write a book that would take the unusual form of a chapter for every day of the ongoing year. It would be the tale of Gesine Cresspahl, a thirty-four-year-old single mother who is a German émigré to Manhattan’s Upper West Side, and of her ten-year-old daughter, Marie—a story of work and school, of friends and lovers and the countless small encounters with neighbors and strangers that make up big-city life. An everyday tale, but also a tale of the events of the day, as gleaned by Gesine from The New York Times: Johnson could hardly foresee the convulsions of 1968, but some of the news—the racial unrest roiling America, the escalating war in Vietnam—was sure to be news for some time yet to come. Finally, it would be a tale told by Gesine to Marie about Gesine’s childhood in a small north German town, of her independent and enterprising father, of her troubled mother, of Nazi Germany (Gesine was born the year Hitler came to power) and World War II and Soviet retribution and the grimly regulated realities of Communist East Germany. An ambitious historical novel as well as a wonderfully observed New York novel, Anniversaries would take in the unsettled world of the present along with the twentieth century’s disastrous past, while vividly depicting the struggle of a loving, though hardly uncomplicated mother and a bright, indomitably curious girl to understand and care for each other and to shape a human world.
Gesine and Marie are among the most memorable and engaging characters in literature, and Anniversaries, at once monumental and intimate, sweeping and full of incident, stylistically adventurous and endlessly absorbing, is quite simply one of the great books of our time.