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The Unfinished
by Reinhard Jirgl
translated by Iain Galbraith
Seagull Books, 2020
Cloth: 978-0-85742-735-9 | eISBN: 978-0-85742-758-8

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | REVIEWS | TOC
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Komotau, the Czech Republic, late summer, 1945. Four women—seventy-year-old Johanna, her two daughters Hanna and Maria, and Hanna’s daughter Anna—are ordered by the new Czech authorities to leave their homes and assemble with other Germans at the local train station. They are given thirty minutes—the “wild expulsions” of Sudeten Germans have begun. But where is Anna?
 
Witnessing the revenge lynching of SS and suspected collaborators on her walk home, she arrives in Komotau to find her family gone. The trek takes the older women via Munich, then Dresden and Magdeburg, to an outpost in the far northwest of the Soviet zone where they settle as farm laborers. Once united again, their hope of one day returning to the heimat—homeland—is both a source of strength and a burden, choking attachments to new surroundings and neighbors. This conflict will prove to be the story of their lives, as well as both the joy and ruin of Anna’s son.
 
A tale of four generations told in Reinhard Jirgl’s unique and subversively expressive idiom, The Unfinished plays out between the ruins of Nazi Germany and the rise and fall of communist East Germany, the birth of the Berlin Republic, and the shadow of a new millennium.
 

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