Anna Kim

The Anatomy of a Night - Novel

(German title: Anatomie einer Nacht)
ca. 303 pages
Anna Kim
Foto: Anna Kim
© Werner Geiger

Anna Kim was born in 1977 in Daejeon, South Korea. In 1979 her family moved to Germany and then to Vienna, Austria, where she has lived since 1984.

Anna Kim is recipient of numerous awards, including the 2009 Austrian State fellowship for Literature, the 2009 Elias Canetti fellowship, the Robert Musil fellowship 2010, and the Austrian Prize for Literature 2009.

Other works by her are the novella Die Bilderspur (2004), the novel Die gefrorene Zeit (2008; English edition with Ariadne 2010: Frozen Time) and the essay Invasionen des Privaten (2011). The Anatomy of a Night is her first book with Suhrkamp.

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Eleven final hours


»The nights in Amarâq are an impenetrable dark mass, they are what you imagine nothing to be: the image that the eye fails to see.«

»Prologue: the epidemic reached its apex in the late summer, on the cusp of autumn. The eleven suicides happened in the space of five hours, on Friday night and in the early hours of Saturday, without warning, without fanfare, without prior arrangement. Dying spread like the plague, the victims seemed to have been infected by nothing more than a touch or even a look – afterwards it was referred to as a disease.«

In the night of 31 August 2008, in a small town in the poor and largely isolated Eastern part of Greenland, eleven people take their own lives. Suicide spreads like an epidemic through all the social strata and age groups of the town, whose inhabitants appear to have been »infected by nothing more than a touch or even a look«. On the surface, these suicides appear to be completely unrelated. Only a few of the deceased were fleetingly acquainted. And yet an external observer asks himself, »Is it not a mistake to think that the life of an individual can have meaning in and of itself? Just as the death of an individual makes no sense except in relation to the lives of others.«

The Anatomy of a Night by Anna Kim recounts the final hours of eleven people, and it tells a story about Greenland, that land of extremes, full of so much cold and loneliness and at the same time such comforting magic. With great care and in affecting images, Kim traces the twists and turns of her characters’ lives and shows why the events of that one night could only have transpired the way they did. 


»Anatomy of a Night is impressive not only for its atmosphere and subject matter, the author is also a gifted and engaging storyteller.« Herbert Först, literaturhaus.at

»The lyrical subtlety of the language and the masterful use of formal elements exert an irresistible pull that literally whisks the reader away into the Greenlandic night. That’s not a warning, it’s a promise.« Carsten Hueck, ORF

»Anna Kim’s novel stands in a grand tradition, and if this book proves anything, then this above all: that it takes a clear-sighted literature to lead the way through a great darkness, a darkness far greater than any single night could ever be.« Paul Jandl, Die Welt

»Wielding language like a scalpel, the author carefully and confidently exposes the deepest layers of human existence.« Carsten Hueck, Deutschlandradio Kultur


Anna Kim reads from her novel The Anatomy of a Night

Anna Kim’s Impressions from Greenland


Other publications

Die große Heimkehr/The Great Homecoming (2017)

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