Transit by Anna Seghers

IMG_6159Set in Marseilles, France. Reread on 2019/01:

“And if you were to reproach me because I’m forever changing and going to different places, then I’d reply, that it’s only because I’m doing a thorough search for something that is going to last forever.” #annaseghers is here to tell us that our unrelenting search for something that lasts forever is the only thing that actually lasts forever. Based on her own experience as a #refugee and a German pariah herself, #seghers could have given this book a visceral and raw angle. Instead #transit is a #thriller of political, #existentialist and #identity layers which make this book one of a kind and the intrigue a fast ride into the forces against apathy. Us the readers as much as the narrator realize that being in transit is much more intrinsic that the horrible reality of all the #refugees in #marseille waiting for a way out. Being in transit to find that one thing which lasts forever happens in all our relationships including the one with ourselves. Once our narrator steps out of his world of boredom and apathy he has inhabited since escaping from a #concentrationcamp , he realizes he has missed his one “forever” opportunity. Or has he? Could the illusion of death also be a state of constant transit? #highlyrecommended #nyrb #nyrbbooks#rereadmarathon #germanliterature#transitvisa #exitvisa #nowayout#occupiedfrance #paris

Reviewed on 2018/03:

Let’s have Kafka and Saramago and Némirovsky all together and blend them into a single story. #transit will be the result of that experiment. This book is as intriguing as infuriating. Connected to Modiano from my post yesterday, #seghersalso takes you to a #europe a #southernfrance a #marseille exhausted, convoluted and in the #brink of utter collapse. Everyone is desperate from a #wayout an #exitvisa I’m not going to spoil the story for you! Suffice to say two things here. First, #annaseghers masterfully uses a mixture of #absurdity happenstance and #historicalfiction to depict the characters’ anxieties and incredibly enough their #hopes in such an asphyxiating situation. I myself felt infuriated reading this book because what she describes in her pages not only happened not so long ago, it also continues to happen in this world over and over again. Millions of #refugees were #stranded and basically left to die or being killed while the #nazis advanced through most of Europe. We learned nothing from it. This situation continues to happen throughout the world. The country I live in is basically in full regression by every single moral, humanitarian and social justice standard. But also in Europe where the atrocities in this book took place and even in #israel where some of the descendants of those same #jewishrefugees live, refugees and #asylumseekers are NOT welcomed. We don’t care about other people who don’t look, behave or speak like us. We purposely vote and support #demagogues that simplify everything, rely on our fears and offer us the “easiest” solution: kick them out, not letting them in. You can ignore it all you want and vote for those deceiving you into making things “simple” for you. But I’m here to tell you what Seghers so vividly describes in her book: the #plight of the refugees is intrinsically #connected to your own wellbeing and that of your family and those around you. It’s all connected… Just because you’re ignorant of it doesn’t mean it’s isn’t. It’s simply all connected. And at some point life is going to make you realize that…

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