An Inventory of Losses (Hardcover)

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An Inventory of Losses Cover Image
By Judith Schalansky, Jackie Smith (Translated by)
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Staff Reviews


In this collection of fictional essays, Schlansky considers loss and memory as she writes about objects, places, and animals that no longer exist. She writes that "being alive means experiencing loss" which resonates deeply in our current times, something that I think many are reflecting on as we navigate all of the things we no longer can do, and how that informs a future we don't know. Through the art of story telling, she "creates" memories, a very human need to interpret the world around us based on what we have experienced. Imaginative and beautiful, this is a book to savor.  —Rachel

— From Staff Favorites List- Summer/Fall 2020

Description


A dazzling book about memory and extinction from the author of Atlas of Remote Islands

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year

A Financial Times Best Book of the Year

Winner of the Helen & Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize

Longlisted for the International Booker Prize


Each disparate object described in this book—a Caspar David Friedrich painting, a species of tiger, a villa in Rome, a Greek love poem, an island in the Pacific—shares a common fate: it no longer exists, except as the dead end of a paper trail. Recalling the works of W. G. Sebald, Bruce Chatwin, or Rebecca Solnit, An Inventory of Losses is a beautiful evocation of twelve specific treasures that have been lost to the world forever, and, taken as a whole, opens mesmerizing new vistas of how we can think about extinction and loss.

      With meticulous research and a vivid awareness of why we should care about these losses, Judith Schalansky, the acclaimed author of Atlas of Remote Islands, lets these objects speak for themselves: she ventriloquizes the tone of other sources, burrows into the language of contemporaneous accounts, and deeply interrogates the very notion of memory.

About the Author


Judith Schalansky, born in Greifswald in 1980, lives in Berlin and works as a writer, book designer, and editor (of the prestigious natural history list at Matthes und Seitz). Her books, including the international bestseller Atlas of Remote Islands and the novel The Giraffe’s Neck, have been translated into more than twenty languages.

Jackie Smith is a literary translator working from German and French into English. After graduating from Cambridge University she worked as a commercial translator before dedicating herself full-time to creative and book translations. In 2015 she was selected to participate in the New Books in German ‘Emerging Translators Programme’. Her translation of an excerpt from Hans Platzgumer’s novel Am Rand (On the Edge) won the Austrian Cultural Forum London Translation Prize 2017.

Praise For…


There are essays of wry wisdom...Jackie Smith’s translation shimmers, various as the damselflies.
— 4Columns

It is hard to imagine a better guide to the resources of hope than Schalansky’s deeply engaging inventory.
— Michael Cronin - Irish Times

Twelve fictional essays comprise this stunning work depicting animals, places, objects, and buildings that are lost forever... Not to be read quickly but savored and contemplated.
— Library Journal (starred)

Schalansky treats each of the 12 objects cataloged in her new book with an almost religious awe, like a believer giving herself up to be inhabited by spirits.
— Los Angeles Review of Books

Brilliant....an ambulatory and often playful meditation on history and forgetting.
— Kate Zambreno - New York Times

Schalansky cements her reputation as a peerless chronicler of the fabulous, the faraway, and the forgotten.
— Publishers Weekly (starred)

In rich, evocative, precise prose—beautifully translated from the German by Jackie Smith—Schalansky recalls these lost things and meditates on their destruction, all the while interrogating the extent to which memory—or writing—can compensate for material loss.
— Francesa Wade - The Baffler

A fine example of everyone’s favourite genre: the genre-defying book, inspired by history, filtered through imagination and finished with a jeweller’s eye for detail.
— John Self - The Guardian

In each case Schalansky has alighted on fascinating material, and her delicately poetic turn of phrase is evident on every page.
— The Telegraph

Instead of a requiem for what is gone, Schalansky sings a dirge for what remains.
— The White Review

The translation from the German by Jackie Smith…is a triumph of subtle accuracy.
— Wall Street Journal

An exploration of extinct animals and objects told through dazzling stories that question the bounds of memory and myth.
— Kirkus (starred)

The most wondrous
book of the year: by taking the vanished and turning it into a great piece of
literature, the author has performed a magical act.
— Die Zeit

A celebration of what can still be accomplished with imagination, paper. and ink.
— Anthony Doerr

Exquisite. Like the hero of Joris-Karl Huysmans’s novel A Rebours, who sets off for London from Paris but realizes he need go no further than the Gare du Nord, Schalansky decides to make a virtue of absence.

— Robert Macfarlane

Utterly fascinating.
— Rosmarie Waldrop


Product Details
ISBN: 9780811229630
ISBN-10: 0811229637
Publisher: New Directions
Publication Date: December 8th, 2020
Pages: 224
Language: English