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An Inventory of Losses

An Inventory of Losses

“A cabinet of curiosities that can be dipped into with pleasure and profit” RUPERT CHRISTIANSEN

“Schalansky is at her strongest when she has least need to compromise. But there is no doubt that at these times, her work is very strong indeed.” LORIEN KITE, Financial Times

“Pure gold storytelling” SJON

Judith Schalansky’s strange and wonderful new book, recalling writers as different as W.G. Sebald and Christa Wolf, Joan Didion and Rebecca Solnit, sees her return to the territory she explored so successfully with her best-selling Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I Have Never Set Foot On and Never Will, which Robert MacFarlane called “utterly exquisite” (Guardian) and about which Time Out‘s reviewer said “Rarely has armchair travel been so farflung and romantic”.

Judith Schalansky is a wholly original writer whose books articulate perfectly what she wishes to say. Each of the pieces, following the conventions of a different genre, considers something that is irretrievably lost to the world, including the paradisal pacific island of Tuanaki, the Caspian Tiger, the Villa Sacchetti in Rome, Sappho’s love poems, Greta Garbo’s fading beauty, a painting by Caspar David Friedrich, and the former East Germany’s Palace of the Republic.

As a child of the former East Germany, it’s not surprising that the dominant emotion in Schalansky’s work should be “loss” and its aftermath, but what is extraordinary is the thoroughly engaging mixture of intellectual curiosity, down-to-earth grasp of life’s pitiless vitality, ironic humour, stylistic elegance and intensity of feeling that combine to make this book a masterpiece and one of the most original and beautifully designed books to be published in 2020.

Translated from the German by Jackie Smith
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Genre: Humanities / History / General & World History

On Sale: 20th August 2020

Price: £20

ISBN-13: 9781529400779

Reviews

With this collection of illuminating meditations on fact and fiction, Schalansky cements her reputation as a peerless chronicler of the fabulous, the faraway, and the forgotten
Publishers Weekly
Schalansky's meticulously researched stories are poignant reminders of the extent of our impact on the natural world and a call to honor the animals, objects, and places that, due to our own negligence, have ceased to exist
Kirkus Review
Twelve fictional essays comprise this stunning work depicting animals, places, objects, and buildings that are lost forever. [...] In this smooth and expert translation, internationally best-selling author Schalansky (The Giraffe's Neck) illuminates these "lost" inventoried gems with thorough research and details, making us ponder their transitory quality
Library Journal
A cabinet of curiosities that can be dipped into with pleasure and profit
Rupert Christiansen, Daily Telegraph
Pure gold storytelling
Sjon
A collection of twelve pieces, some essays, some short fiction, some pitched in between, on various things that have been lost . . . most stimulating
David Mills, The Sunday Times
The collection often reads like a disguised and rather ingenious form of memoir, in which vanished landmarks act as foils for the author's own excavations of lost time . . . with a crackling vigour that is well served by Jackie Smith's supple translation . . . Schalansky is at her strongest when she has least need to compromise. But there is no doubt that at these times, her work is very strong indeed.
Lorien Kite, Financial Times