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Zeitzuflucht: Roman by Georgi Gospodinov
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Zeitzuflucht: Roman (original 2020; edition 2022)

by Georgi Gospodinov (Autor), Alexander Sitzmann (Übersetzer)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
604392,671 (3.55)1
'The most exquisite kind of literature... I've put it on a special shelf in my library that I reserve for books that demand to be revisited every now and then. ' OLGA TOKARCZUK, author of Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead 'Could not be more timely... It's funny and absurd, but it's also frightening, because even as Gospodinov plays with the idea as fiction, the reader begins to recognise something rather closer to home... A writer of great warmth as well as skill' GUARDIAN 'In equal measure playful and profound, Time Shelter renders the philosophical mesmerizing, and the everyday extraordinary. I loved it' CLAIRE MESSUD, author of The Woman Upstairs 'A genrebusting novel of ideas... Gospodinov's vision of tomorrow is the nightmare from which Europe knows it must awake. And accident, in combination with the book's own merits, may just have created a classic' THE TIMES 'Gospodinov is one of Europe's most fascinating and irreplaceable novelists, and this his most expansive, soulful and mind-bending book' DAVE EGGERS, author of The Circle 'Touching and intelligent' NEW YORK TIMES 'A powerful and brilliant novel: clear-sighted, foreboding, enigmatic' SANDRO VERONESI, author of The Hummingbird 'An immensely enjoyable book which achieves depth with an affable narrative voice' IRISH TIMES In Time Shelter, an enigmatic flâneur named Gaustine opens a 'clinic for the past' that offers a promising treatment for Alzheimer's sufferers: each floor reproduces a decade in minute detail, transporting patients back in time. As Gaustine's assistant, the unnamed narrator is tasked with collecting the flotsam and jetsam of the past, from 1960s furniture and 1940s shirt buttons to scents and even afternoon light. But as the rooms become more convincing, an increasing number of healthy people seek out the clinic as a 'time shelter', hoping to escape from the horrors of our present - a development that results in an unexpected conundrum when the past begins to invade the present. Intricately crafted, and eloquently translated by Angela Rodel, Time Shelter cements Georgi Gospodinov's reputation as one of the indispensable writers of our times, a major voice in international literature. Georgi Gospodinov is one of Europe's most acclaimed writers. Originally from Bulgaria, his novels have won his country's most prestigious literary prize twice and have been shortlisted for more than a dozen international prizes - including the 2015 PEN Literary Award for Translation, the Premio Gregor von Rezzori, the Premio Strega Europeo, the Bruecke Berlin Preis, and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt Literaturpreis. He has won the 2016 Jan Michalski Prize for Literature, the 2019 Angelus Literature Central Europe Prize and the 2021 Premio Strega Europeo, among others.… (more)
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English (2)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (4)
Showing 2 of 2
“Sooner or later all utopias turn into historical novels.”

This is a creative and unusual book about nostalgia, memory, and time. It begins with a clinic where patients can return to an earlier time of their lives. It eventually expands to include each European country voting on returning to a previous decade and discusses the relative merits of each. It poses the question of whether we would really want to go back to the past, knowing some of the horrible things that took place, and what lies ahead. It takes nations to task for ever-expanding nationalistic thinking and reminds us of where those types of actions led (no one chooses to return to the 1940s, for example). I think the first three-quarters of the book work better than the ending, which devolves into rambling philosophical musings. Despite the rather nebulous ending, I found it a very cool premise and enjoyed the journey. ( )
  Castlelass | Jan 24, 2023 |
Awesome book. Not easy but worth the effort. ( )
  CasSprout | Dec 18, 2022 |
Showing 2 of 2
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Epigraph
In questo romanzo
tutti i veri personaggi sono inventati,
solo quelli inventati sono veri
“Nessuno ha ancora inventato una maschera antigas 
e un rifugio antiaereo contro il tempo.”
GAUSTÌN, Cronorifugio, 1939 “E qual è il nostro organo per il tempo? 
Potresti dirmelo?”
THOMAS MANN, La montagna magica “L’uomo è l’unica macchina del tempo 
di cui disponiamo.”
GAUSTÌN, Contro le utopie, 2001 “Dove si può vivere se non nei giorni?”
PHILIP LARKIN, Giorni “Oh, yesterday came suddenly...”
LENNON/McCARTNEY “...se la strada fosse il tempo e lui fosse là 
al fondo della strada.”
T.S. ELIOT, The Boston Evening Transcript “Questo nostro eterno ieri, ieri, ieri...”
GAUSTÌN/SHAKESPEARE “Il romanzo viene per urgenza coi fari accesi 
e a sirene spiegate.”
GAUSTÌN, Emergency Novel. 
Brief Theory and Practice “...e Dio riconduce ciò che è passato.”
ECCLESIASTE, 3,15
“Il passato si differenzia dal presente 
per una cosa essenziale 
– non scorre mai in un’unica direzione.”
GAUSTÌN, Fisica del passato, 1905 “Una volta, quand’era piccola, 
aveva disegnato un animale 
assolutamente irriconoscibile.
Cos’è questo? le ho chiesto.
A volte è un pescecane, a volte un leone 
e a volte una nuvola, mi ha risposto.
Ah, ma ora cos’è di preciso?
Ora è un nascondiglio.”
G.G., Inizi e finali
E così il tema è la memoria. Tempo: da andante ad andante moderato, sostenuto*. Forse la sarabanda con la sua solennità controllata e con un prolungato secondo tempo andrebbe proprio bene per l’inizio. Piuttosto Händel che Bach. Rigorosa ripetizione unita a un movimento in avanti. Sostenuto e solenne come conviene per un inizio. Poi tutto può – e deve – dissolversi.
Dedication
A mia madre e a mio padre,
che ancora puliscono dalle erbacce
gli eterni campi di fragole
dell’infanzia
First words
A un certo punto decisero di calcolare quando fosse cominciato il tempo e quando precisamente fosse stata creata la terra.
Quotations
Il vescovo irlandese Ussher, della metà del XVII secolo, calcolò non soltanto l’anno preciso, ma anche la data d’inizio: il 22 ottobre del 4004 avanti Cristo. Era di sabato, ovvio. Secondo alcuni Ussher indica anche l’ora esatta: le 6 del pomeriggio. Sabato pomeriggio, non ho il minimo dubbio. In quale altro momento della settimana un annoiato creatore avrebbe cominciato a costruire il mondo e a cercare compagnia.
Gaustìn provava nei confronti dei senzatetto amore e paura, erano queste le sue parole, sempre enunciate assieme. Li amava e aveva paura di loro, come ami e hai paura di qualcosa che sei già stato o che t’aspetti di diventare un giorno.
Gaustìn, che prima ho creato e poi ho incontrato in carne e ossa. O era il contrario, non me lo ricordo. L’amico invisibile, più visibile e reale di me stesso. Gaustìn della mia giovinezza. Gaustìn del mio desiderio di essere un altro, altrove, ad abitare un altro tempo e altre stanze. Avevamo in comune l’ossessione del passato. Con una piccola ma essenziale differenza. Io rimanevo straniero ovunque, mentre lui si sentiva ugualmente a suo agio in tutti i tempi. Io bussavo alle porte di anni diversi e lui era già là, mi apriva, mi faceva entrare e poi spariva.
Ammiravamo il sontuoso tramonto rimanendo in silenzio. Dai cespugli dietro di noi si alzò in volo un’intera nuvola di moscerini. Gaustìn li seguì con lo sguardo e disse che mentre per noi questo non è che un ulteriore tramonto, per le creature effimere questo tramonto è il tramonto della loro vita. O qualcosa di simile. Fu sciocco replicargli che si trattava soltanto di una frusta metafora. Mi guardò sbalordito, ma non disse nulla. Solo dopo alcuni minuti disse: Loro non hanno metafore.
Alcuni anni prima mi troverò a stare in una città che non ha avuto il 1939. Una città buona per viverci e ancora migliore per morirci. Una città tranquilla come un cimitero. Non ti stai annoiando, mi chiedono per telefono. La noia è l’emblema di questa città. Qui si sono annoiati Canetti, Joyce, Dürrenmatt, Frisch e anche Thomas Mann. Anche se mi pare inadeguato paragonare la mia noia con la loro. Non mi annoio, dico. Chi sono io per permettermi di annoiarmi. Anche se sotto sotto mi andrebbe di provare il lusso della noia.
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'The most exquisite kind of literature... I've put it on a special shelf in my library that I reserve for books that demand to be revisited every now and then. ' OLGA TOKARCZUK, author of Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead 'Could not be more timely... It's funny and absurd, but it's also frightening, because even as Gospodinov plays with the idea as fiction, the reader begins to recognise something rather closer to home... A writer of great warmth as well as skill' GUARDIAN 'In equal measure playful and profound, Time Shelter renders the philosophical mesmerizing, and the everyday extraordinary. I loved it' CLAIRE MESSUD, author of The Woman Upstairs 'A genrebusting novel of ideas... Gospodinov's vision of tomorrow is the nightmare from which Europe knows it must awake. And accident, in combination with the book's own merits, may just have created a classic' THE TIMES 'Gospodinov is one of Europe's most fascinating and irreplaceable novelists, and this his most expansive, soulful and mind-bending book' DAVE EGGERS, author of The Circle 'Touching and intelligent' NEW YORK TIMES 'A powerful and brilliant novel: clear-sighted, foreboding, enigmatic' SANDRO VERONESI, author of The Hummingbird 'An immensely enjoyable book which achieves depth with an affable narrative voice' IRISH TIMES In Time Shelter, an enigmatic flâneur named Gaustine opens a 'clinic for the past' that offers a promising treatment for Alzheimer's sufferers: each floor reproduces a decade in minute detail, transporting patients back in time. As Gaustine's assistant, the unnamed narrator is tasked with collecting the flotsam and jetsam of the past, from 1960s furniture and 1940s shirt buttons to scents and even afternoon light. But as the rooms become more convincing, an increasing number of healthy people seek out the clinic as a 'time shelter', hoping to escape from the horrors of our present - a development that results in an unexpected conundrum when the past begins to invade the present. Intricately crafted, and eloquently translated by Angela Rodel, Time Shelter cements Georgi Gospodinov's reputation as one of the indispensable writers of our times, a major voice in international literature. Georgi Gospodinov is one of Europe's most acclaimed writers. Originally from Bulgaria, his novels have won his country's most prestigious literary prize twice and have been shortlisted for more than a dozen international prizes - including the 2015 PEN Literary Award for Translation, the Premio Gregor von Rezzori, the Premio Strega Europeo, the Bruecke Berlin Preis, and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt Literaturpreis. He has won the 2016 Jan Michalski Prize for Literature, the 2019 Angelus Literature Central Europe Prize and the 2021 Premio Strega Europeo, among others.

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