Uwe Johnson

Anniversaries - From The Life of Gesine Cresspahl

(German title: Jahrestage 1–4)
ca. 2150 pages
Uwe Johnson
Foto: Uwe Johnson
© Michael Bengel

Uwe Johnson was born in Kammin (today: Kamien Pomorski), Poland, in 1934 and died in Sheerness-on-Sea on February 22nd or 23rd 1984. His estate is kept at the Uwe Johnson-archive at the University of Rostock.

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English world rights (New York Review of Books Classics), France (Gallimard), Italy (L'Orma), Netherlands (Van Oorschot), Denmark (Vandkunsten), Macedonia (Ars Lamina)


In Anniversaries, Uwe Johnson develops a unique panorama of German history in the 20th century – a »literary world trip« (Reinhard Baumgart) that starts with the story of a German family in the Weimar Republic of the 1920s and continues to the eventful year of 1968 in New York.

Over the course of one year, Gesine Cresspahl narrates her family's history to her ten-year-old daughter. Day by day, she reveals more about life in Mecklenburg during the years of the Weimar Republic, during the Nazi-rule and the subsequent Soviet occupation, as well as during the first years of the German Democratic Republic. At the same time, the novel depicts the daily life of mother and daughter in the midst of student demonstrations and Vietnam War protests in the cultural metropolis that is New York in the epochal year of 1967/1968.


»It is - among many other things - a book about the city as seen by a poet with a wayward eye and prose to match. Lingering on the texture of a surface, he can turn the most familiar sight into a revelation. [...] Johnson's prose defies translation: that he survives at all is a minor miracle. One would desperately wish for a major one, because Johnson in the original can be superb. [...] Reading Uwe Johnson in English is better than not reading him at all, because even in this less than perfect version he comes across as an uncommonly original and provocative voice.« The New York Times Book Review


To listen to »A Secret Life: Uwe Johnson in Sheerness«, a reportage by Prof. Patrick Wright and John Goudie on BBC 3, please click here.

Other publications

Mutmassungen über Jakob/Speculations About Jakob (1992)

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English world rights (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), France (Gallimard), Korea (Golden Bough), Bulgaria (Agata-A), Croatia (Fraktura), Slovenia (Mladinska knjiga); previously published in the respective language / territory; rights available again: Spanish world rights (Iter), Portugal (Arcadia), Italy (Feltrinelli), Netherlands (Meulenhoff), Japan (Hakusuisha), Poland (Czytelnik), Hungary (Horizont)

Domestic Rights Sales: German Audiobook (DAV)