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Jenny Erpenbeck and Carlos Fonseca talk to Daniel Hahn

Identities and Change

Hay Festival 2023, 

German writer Jenny Erpenbeck’s new book Kairos is a story of love and betrayal set in Berlin during the years before and after the fall of the Wall. When a young student and an older man meet by chance on a bus, their attraction is intense and sudden, heightened by the secrecy they must maintain. But when she strays for a single night he cannot forgive her and a dangerous crack forms between them, as the world around them is changing too, ushering in a new era whose great gains also involve profound loss. Carlos Fonseca’s Austral is a novel about the traces we leave, the traces we erase and the traces we seek to rebuild. From the Guatemalan wilderness to the high Peruvian Amazon, passing through Nueva Germania, the anti-Semitic commune founded in Paraguay by Nietzsche’s sister, Austral takes us on a long journey south, following a trail of ecological and cultural destruction to excavate contemporary xenophobia. The writers discuss the books and their themes with editor and translator Daniel Hahn.

Jenny Erpenbeck and Carlos Fonseca talk to Daniel Hahn