All for Nothing by Walter Kempowski
(New York Review Books Classics)

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A wealthy family tries--and fails--to seal themselves off from the chaos of post-World War II life surrounding them in this stunning novel by one of Germany's most important post-war writers.

In East Prussia, January 1945, the German forces are in retreat and the Red Army is approaching. The von Globig family's manor house, the Georgenhof, is falling into disrepair. Auntie runs the estate as best she can since Eberhard von Globig, a special officer in the German army, went to war, leaving behind his beautiful but vague wife, Katharina, and her bookish twelve-year-old son, Peter. As the road fills with Germans fleeing the occupied territories, the Georgenhof begins to receive strange visitors--a Nazi violinist, a dissident painter, a Baltic baron, even a Jewish refugee. Yet in the main, life continues as banal, wondrous, and complicit as ever for the family, until their caution, their hedged bets, and their denial are answered by the wholly expected events they haven't allowed themselves to imagine.

All for Nothing, published in 2006, was the last novel by Walter Kempowski, one of postwar Germany's most acclaimed and popular writers.

About Walter Kempowski

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Walter Kempowski (1929-2007) was one of Germany's most important postwar writers. The author of a series of acclaimed novels, in the 1980s he began work on an immense nonfiction project, Echo Soundings, gathering together eyewitness accounts, diaries, letters, and memoirs of World War II, which he edited into ten volumes published over twenty years and which is considered a modern classic in Germany. Swansong 1945 is the final volume of that work, and is translated into English here for the first time.Shaun Whiteside's translations from the German include classics by Freud, Musil, and Nietzsche. He lives in London.
Published February 13, 2018 by NYRB Classics. 369 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, War, Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction

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In his final novel, the German author bears witness to the collective experience of war with compassion and grace

Nov 28 2015 | Read Full Review of All for Nothing (New York Rev...