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Anniversaries: From a Year in the Life of Gesine Cresspahl | Uwe Johnson
9 posts | 1 read | 1 reading
A landmark of 20th Century literature about New York in the late 1960s, now in English for the first time. As a novel, Uwe Johnson's masterpiece, Anniversaries, is at once daringly simple in conception and wonderfully complex and engaging in effect. Late in 1967, Johnson, already one of the most celebrated German novelists of his generation, set out to write a book that would take the form of an entry for every day of the year that lay ahead. The first section was dated August 20, and Johnson had of course no idea what the year would bring--that was part of the challenge--but he did have his main character--Gesine Cresspahl, a German emigre living on the Upper West Side of New York City and working as a translator for a bank who is the single mother of a ten-year-old daughter, Marie. The book would tell the story of a year in the life of this little family in relation to the unfolding story of the year, as winnowed from the pages of the New York Times, of which Gesine is a devoted if wary reader. These stories would in turn be overlayed by another--Gesine is 34, born just as Hitler was coming to power, and she has decided to tell Marie the story of her grandparents' lives and of her own rural childhood in Nazi Germany. It is important that Marie know where and what she comes from. The days of the year are also anniversaries of years past. The world that was and the world of the 1960s--with the struggle for civil rights leading to riots in American cities and, abroad, the escalating destruction of the Vietnam War--are, in the end, one world. Anniversaries was published in four volumes over the more than ten years that it took Johnson to write it, and as the volumes came out it became clear that this was one the great twentieth-century novels. The book courts comparison to Joyce's Ulysses, the book of a day, and to Proust's In Search of Lost Time, the book of a lifetime, but it stands apart in its dense polyphonic interplay of voices and stories. Anniversaries is many books--the book of a mother and daughter, of a family and its generations, of the country and the city, and of two times and two countries that seem farther apart perhaps than they are. It is a novel of private life, a political novel, and a new kind of historical novel, reckoning not only with past history but with history in the making. Monumental and intimate, sweeping in vision and full of incident, richly detailed and endlessly absorbing, Anniversaries, now for the first time available in English in a brilliant new translation by Damion Searls, is nothing short of a revelation.
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• 114/100! I thought about bumping it up when I completed it, but I‘m busy with school readings so don‘t want to stress about it!
• I don‘t know how interesting this is, but I attended 3 universities between Canada and the UK to get my undergrad
• I really love metal music, and the many, many sub genres of it
• I‘m sure I have an anniversary for being in arthritis/uveitis remission, but I‘m. It sure when it is
• 🍂🍂🍂

#friyayintro @howjessreads

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1 - Really good! My job doesn't leave a lot of free time and I was in a slump, maybe only reading 6 books a year before I found Litsy last year. So far in 2019 I've read over 30!
2 - your nose and ears never stop growing. Your eyes stay the same size. (If this isn't actually true feel free to @ me, medical professionals 😂)
3 - really into folk right now
4 - just hit 4 years of marriage on Sept. 19
5 - 🙌 ❤️

#friyayintro @howjessreads

Amandajoy 🙌🏻 Congrats! 2mo
ImperfectCJ You know, I was just yesterday thinking that my eyes seem smaller than they did in my 20's. Maybe it's just that my nose and ears have grown... 2mo
howjessreads Congrats! 🖐🏽 2mo
41 likes3 comments
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"Yes, it's a local today, she agrees, smiling..."

This book was written in the late 1960s, yet I hear the above phrase at work at least once a week. I love that people have been having the exact same elevator small talk for decades, probably ever since elevators/subways were invented!

arubabookwoman I'm really liking it, but finding it's not conducive to reading 1 entry at a time. So much is being introduced-characters, family history, places, etc-that I am finding it becomes too choppy. So I'm reading a few days at a time, but not reading it every day. 2mo
13 likes2 comments
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sisilia Are you reading this, @shawnmooney ? 3mo
shawnmooney @sisilia Yes, indeed! 3mo
sisilia @shawnmooney I‘m doing the year-long readalong with Mookse and Gripes... will start this weekend when I‘m back in Singapore ✌🏻 3mo
34 likes3 comments
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And so it begins. One year in the life of Gesine Cresspahl in NYC in from August 20, 1967 to August 20, 1968.
#nyrb, #1001books, #reading1001

arubabookwoman Have you read this? I was thinking of reading it over time-one day‘s entry at a time. 3mo
Liz_M @arubabookwoman That is exactly what I am doing this year! You should find a copy quick 😉 3mo
arubabookwoman I have the NYRB set. I‘m going to try to read it day by day too, so I‘ve already read the 1st 2 entries, but I‘m horrible of keeping up with these things. 1967-68 was an important year for me. It was my senior year of HS. After being in Aruba for 16 yrs, we spent a year in NJ, and I went to the Jersey shore where the book begins several times in the summer of 67. I vividly remember the race riots and the Vietnam debacle. I think I‘ll like this. (edited) 3mo
Liz_M @arubabookwoman Amazing! 1967-68 was before my time so the book will have a different impact on me. But I already am fighting the urge to take photos of the specific locations mentioned -- to find the bank in which she works, to see if there is still a news kiosk at 96th and Bway. 3mo
BarbaraBB @arubabookwoman @Liz_M How cool, you both reading this book a day at the time. I love the idea, as well as the photography and your investigation Liz and the fact that you lived there and then Deborah 💜 3mo
17 likes5 comments
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Well this is serendipitous. FINALLY crossed the 100,000 mark on my 3 year anniversary. I‘m probably the slowest ever to 100K. 😂

SW-T Congrats and happy anniversary! 😊 3mo
Megabooks Congratulations dear friend!! I‘m so glad to have met you here!! 💕💕📚🎧🥳🥳🎉🎉🍾 3mo
Sarah83 Congratulations 🤩👍 3mo
See All 32 Comments
TrishB How cool 😎 happy anniversary and big number 💜❤️ 3mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Congratulations 🎊🍾🎈🎉 3mo
Jas16 🎉🙌🏽📚 3mo
erzascarletbookgasm Perfect catch! Congratulations! 👏🎉 3mo
KarenUK 🙌🙌💕😊 3mo
Crazeedi Perfect! So awesome and congrats!!🎉🎉❤❤ 3mo
AmyG Congrats 🎉🎉🎉 3mo
Branwen Congratulations, friend! 😁 👏 💕 📚 3mo
Redwritinghood 🎉🎉🎉🎉 3mo
julesG 🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎊🎊👏👏 3mo
tournevis 💃🕺💃🕺💃🕺💃🕺💃🕺💃🕺💃🕺💃🕺 3mo
Kalalalatja Good catch! 😂👏👏👏 3mo
Amiable I love it when all the tumblers line up in synchronicity like this. Congratulations! 🙂 3mo
LauraBeth It‘s like our friendship in one graphic 😂❤️ 3mo
MicheleinPhilly @LauraBeth I feel like our friendship in one graphic is more like: 😂🙄😬🤬😭👯‍♀️😻🐶🐱📚🍷🍻❤️ 3mo
BarbaraBB Wow! Congratulations on both! 😘 3mo
Blaire Congrats!! So cool! 3mo
eanderson That‘s awesome!!! Congratulations!!!🎉🍾🎊🎈 3mo
Librarybelle Yay! Congratulations! 3mo
Bookzombie Congratulations! 3mo
mhillis Congrats!! (I‘m slower 😂) 3mo
ValerieAndBooks Congrats from one old timer 👵🏻 to another 👵🏻!! Its been fun here!! I don‘t think I‘ll get to that number until my 4th anniversary next spring , though 😊 3mo
Simona Congrats❣️🍾 🥂 3mo
DivineDiana I think you planned that! 😉Cheers! 🎉📚❤️ 3mo
youneverarrived Congrats! 🥳🥳 3mo
britt_brooke Excellent! Glad you‘re here, Michele! 💃🏼🙌🏻🤸🏼‍♂️🍻 3mo
LeahBergen Yesssss! And you‘re not slow on the numbers ... just delicate and refined. 😆😆 3mo
Suet624 Nope. You‘re definitely not the slowest. I‘m only at 60k and I‘ve been on here for 3 years too! 3mo
73 likes32 comments
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My grandparents are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary today... their love and commitment is inspirational and I can only hope to find a love like theirs!

AmyG They‘re too cute. ❤️ 6mo
Erofan Congratulations 🎉👍 6mo
29 likes2 comments
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Loved this book: the framework of the novel is an entry for every day in the life of German emigre Gesine Cresspahl and her daughter Marie, summer of 1967-1968. Most days start with a summary of highlights from the New York Times, but then veer off into the story of Gesine's life growing up in Nazi Germany, surviving the war and subsequent Soviet occupation. Utterly gripping despite the 1600 page length.