Go, Went, Gone

Erpenbeck, Jenny

  24 Reviews

With more time on his hands than he knows what to do with, Richard, a newly retired Berlin classics professor, stumbles upon a new purpose in his life: getting to know the African asylum seekers congregating in his city. Initially curious but ultimately engaged and committed, Richard befriends these displaced men desperate for the opportunity to work and find a place to call home.

Thought-provoking and profound, this story, strengthened with its references to the classics, gives voice to the personal experiences of refugees caught up in Europe's humanitarian crisis and ponders the humanity we all share. [Small font]



AUCK 172
Thought provoking, upsetting, great read - enjoyed by all.
AUCK 443
We were pleased to read this confronting book. We spent almost 2 hours discussing our thoughts and considering answers to the questions, as well as mulling over reasons for dark skinned people to be considered of less 'value' than white skinned people, and whether this could be overcome in our lifetime. The topic also brought up the question of poverty in N.Z.
WINT 001
The majority of the group found the book very enlightening in regard to the refugee situation in Germany and Italy. This led to a wide discussion on refugees in general and what the situation was in Australia and NZ. Richard was a quirky character but he was a good foil to enable the author to explore some of the reasons for the crisis that has arisen. Well worth the read .
WELL 123
The discussion centred around the topic of refugees and the character of Richard. All the group felt the refugee story to be a worthwhile subject and one that interested us all. We had mixed views about whether a retired self-centred academic was the right person to carry the story, and he was generally disliked as a person. We felt the book was well researched and it was generally positively received.
NEWP 001
One member had vehement criticism of the book, but the others felt it was enlightening and well-written.
Well-written, good character development, a very difficult subject handled well!
NEWP 004
Not an easy read to begin with but a most worthwhile read. Clever author and translator.
MAST 005
Only 3 members persevered to finish this book - others tried but found the style difficult, slow moving and tedious. However, those who finished thought it was a very good account of the trials, hardships, and impossible dreams of reality for asylum seekers.
A well-written, very thought provoking book. Most of us found the book hard to get into at first. Created great discussion within the group.
NEWP 003
Our group found this a fascinating read. The style is light and erudite: the content is disturbing and confronting, and the combination is a fascinating read.
PICT 005
Stimulating, thought-provoking - a joy to read. Also, we were very impressed by the quality of the translation.
WELL 117
Long and vigorous discussion about a very stimulating book. Great writing, and characters well described.
There was considerable discussion about this book, and we found the Discussion Questions helpful to keep us on track. Most found it difficult at the start but then became absorbed with the story, and we felt we learnt so much about the lives of refugees, and their problems with acceptance in a new country.
General approval. Subject of immigrants/refugees/asylum seekers' lives interesting and complex. Main character discussion around retirees living alone. Enjoyed the gradual revelation of his life and personality.
WELL 022
Interesting and diverse conversation relating to the book's theme. Whilst the style of writing ( semi stream of consciousness) irritated some of our group, we were universally impressed by the skillful structure. Characters moved within the story from role to personality as the protagonist's own humanity developed from academic analysis of the world around him to humane/caring involvement in it.
CHCH 494
Some people liked it more than others. We all learnt a lot about the plight of refugees in Europe, which led to discussion about the treatment of refugees in New Zealand. There were several strands to the story that were not resolved. The title 'Go, Went, Gone' doesn't suggest a future. There was an emptiness in Richard's life - and no sense of purpose.
We knew nothing about the refugee situation in Germany. We found the book gave us an insight as to how the situation is handled - not a "light" read!
MAST 010
Took until halfway through book to get into it, then good.
CHCH 277
An excellent book, enjoyed and appreciated by all, leading to an interesting and thoughtful discussion. Highly recommended.
WELL 008
Very mixed reviews from those that "hated" it, to those that "loved" it. Some didn't like the writing style, and it was very repetitive at times. Had to be read in small "doses", even those that loved it found that. Interesting topic though and very good discussion. Members wanted to like it because of the topic, so were disappointed in the book. Interestingly enough, most did finish the book, I think due to the topic.
Very much enjoyed by our group. Resulted in much discussion about refugees and migrants. Notes and questions good.
Most really enjoyed this book. A good insight into the plight of refugees in Europe. Some found the main character a bit dull. Others liked the way he developed.
MAST 008
We all thought this was a wonderful book, and thoroughly recommend to all groups. Well-written, challenging to us all, very topical, and gave us a greater understanding of the whole refugee crisis with accompanying problems.
TAUR 035
We all agreed that this was a very well-written and cleverly crafted book. It did require a lot of concentration as every sentence imparted a great deal of information about all the characters, their pasts, and the different countries they came from. Quite a challenging read and concept, and an eye opener. The book did end with slightly more hope than might have been expected, but the age old problem of global movement and displacement is still being swept under the carpet.