Sunday, September 8, 2019

Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck

Go, Went, GoneGo, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a timely and profoundly moving book about the unseen. Specifically the black African migrants who ended up in Germany after Italians rescued so many from the sea, and the hopeless future awaiting them in Europe. But it could be the Syrians, Latin Americans in the U.S. The narrator is a widowed, retired professor of Classics, who decides to "know" these people demonstrating in a plaza in Berlin for the right to work and live in Germany. He interviews them and comes to know them and it changes his life. As he befriends them, he comes to know himself and his prejudices. They are no longer faceless. Here is a to-do-list he prepare for himself and his visitors:
"Himself: schedule repairman for dishwasher
Urologist appointment
Meter reading
Karon: Eradicate corruption, cronyism, and child labor in Ghana.
Apollo: File lawsuit against the Areva Group (France); Install anew government in Niger that can't be bribed or blackmailed by foreign investors; establish the independent Tuareg state Azawad (discuss with Yussuf).
Rashid: Broker a reconciliation between C Christians and Muslims in Nigeria; persuade Boko Haram to lay down their arms.
Hermes & Ali: Prohibit the sale of weapons to Chad (from the U.S. and China); Prohibit U. S. and China drilling for oil in Chad and exporting it."

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