The Last of the Matter
Aller Tage Abend

jenny erpenbeck aller tage abend
July 2012 / 288pp
  • Longlisted for the German Book Prize 2012

The Goethe-Institut supported the English translation of this book.

Get information on the English version here (US), here (UK).


Aller Tage Abend opens in Galicia in 1901 with the funeral of a baby girl who has died of cot death. In the first part of the book we witness the mother’s overwhelming grief for her child, her husband’s emigration to America and the woman’s struggle to maintain her family’s grocery business. However, each of the book’s subsequent sections proceeds as though the girl did not die in infancy and envisions an alternative life story for her, each with its own fatal conclusion.

Erpenbeck’s novel offers an oblique take on twentieth-century history. It is a playful response to the endless possibilities open to a novelist, as well as to the contingency of human experience. The complex construction of this work of fiction and its vast historical and geographical scope is beautifully counterbalanced by the unadorned and understated language. Erpenbeck relies on lists of evocative facts and figures to create a particular atmosphere: Viennese street names, for example, or the price of a woman’s body in black market groceries – butter, veal, and candles. Jenny Erpenbeck’s broad and growing international readership will be thrilled by this latest novel.

press quotes

‘I haven’t read anything this good – this bracing, unflinching and alive for a long time.’
– Nicole Krauss on Visitation

‘Over the past ten years, Jenny Erpenbeck has gained a reputation as one of Germany’s most adventurous young writers.’– Telegraph Press on The Old Child

about the author

Jenny Erpenbeck was born in 1967 and is an opera director and award-winning writer. Her debut, The Old Child, was published in 1999. Her most recent novel, Visitation, was highly acclaimed both at home and internationally.

Previous works include:
Geschichte vom alten Kind (1999); Katzen haben Sieben Leben (2000); Tand (2001); Wörterbuch (2004); Heimsuchung (2008); Dinge, die verschwinden (2009)

rights information

Translation rights sold to:
UK (Portobello Books), US (New Directions)

Translation rights available from:
Knaus Verlag, Verlagsgruppe Random House GmbH
Tel: +49 (0)89 4136 3313

For information on publisher Albrecht Knaus Verlag please contact NBG.

translation assistance

The Goethe-Institut supported the English translation of this book.

Get information on the English version here (US), here (UK).

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All recommendations from Autumn 2012