Go, Went, Gone (2015 novel by Jenny Erpenbeck)

“Would you like to read something while I’m getting lunch ready? Rufu says: Si, volontieri. The only book in Italian that Richard owns is Dante’s Divine Comedy. For years he’d been planning to read it in the original, but at some point the plan slipped his mind. For years, the Italian dictionary has stood beside it on his shelf. Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita/mi ritrovai per una selva oscura/ché la diritta via era smarrita. He can still recite the opening lines in Italian from memory. Midway upon the journey of our life, I found myself in a dark wood, the right road lost. Maybe not such a bad choice after all, he thinks, and hands the refugee — who’s gone a half a world astray — the burgundy-linen bound first volume.” — Jenny Erpenbeck, Go, Went, Gone (2015). Trans. from the German by Susan Bernofsky (New Directions, 2017).

See Adam Kirsch’s review of the novel, a fiction about the impact of the refugee crisis on European and global politics, here.

Contributed by Pete Maiers

Immigrant Conditions Likened to Dante’s Inferno

immigrant-conditions-likened-to-dantes-inferno

“‘. . . The problem with Turkey must be made an international issue,’ Spyros Vougias, the deputy minister for public order, said in an e-mailed statement. Last month, Mr. Vougias ordered the closure of the Pagani center — a converted warehouse that had been housing 1,300 migrants — saying it was ‘worse than Dante’s inferno.'” [. . .]    –Niki Kitsantonis, The New York Times, November 18, 2009