Traveler of the Century

Traveler of the Century

Book - 2012
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Searching for an inn, the enigmatic traveler Hans stops in a small city on the border between Saxony and Prussia. The next morning, Hans meets an old organ-grinder in the market square and immediately finds himself enmeshed in an intense debate-- on identity and what it is that defines us-- from which he cannot break free. Indefinitely stuck in Wandernburg until his debate with the organ-grinder is concluded, he begins to meet the various characters who populate the town, including a young freethinker named Sophie. Though she is engaged to be married, Sophie and Hans begin a relationship that defies contemporary mores about female sexuality and what can and cannot be said about it.
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, c2012
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 9780374119393
Characteristics: 564 p. ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Caistor, Nick
Garcia, Lorenza


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May 20, 2019

"Doesn't virtually everyone live like like that, on the frontier between leaving and staying?"
This massive (564 pages in my copy) debut novel by Argentine novelist Andres Neuman does not lack for ambition or intelligence. A traveler named Hans stops in a European town where he has a long philosophical debate with an organ grinder and a passionate affair with a woman named Sophie. It recalls many giants of European literature, including Kundera, Kafka, and Diderot. It's stimulating and impressive, but it didn't entirely justify its length and it didn't really go anywhere, which may have been the point. Roberto Bolano was a big fan.
"You're right, people who travel are fleeing nostalgia. There's no time for memories when you are traveling."

Nov 14, 2014

Difficult to read, and understand, but well written and organized.

Oct 10, 2012

The plot sounded interesting, but I just couldn't get past the overly wordy writing and into the rather slow-moving plot.


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