Post­ed by Nat Bern­stein

Looks of con­cern and alarm were exchanged around the office when man­ag­ing edi­tor Bec­ca spon­ta­neous­ly exclaimed, Oh good, the End of Days has arrived!” Then we saw what she meant.

The End of Daysis an award-win­ning best­seller by Ger­man writer Jen­ny Erpen­beck, new­ly trans­lat­ed into Eng­lish by Susan Bernof­sky and released in the last cou­ple weeks from New Direc­tions Pub­lish­ing. The nov­el is com­prised of five dis­tinct sto­ries fol­low­ing the same pro­tag­o­nist at dif­fer­ent stages of her life in twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry Europe, each lead­ing to a dif­fer­ent untime­ly death.

The book cov­er designed by Rodri­go Cor­ral for this Eng­lish edi­tion is genius: the vin­tage green cloth bind­ing gives the impres­sion that the vol­ume is from long ago, dis­cov­ered on a grand­par­en­t’s book­shelf or in dusty shop of yel­low­ing, old titles; the stark let­ters and flo­ral emboss­ing catch­es the read­er’s eye, obscur­ing at first glance that they take their shape around fore­telling tomb­stone. Chill­ing, entic­ing, and beau­ti­ful, The End of Dayss design unques­tion­ably suits the con­tents of the book.

Relat­ed Content:

Nat Bern­stein is the for­mer Man­ag­er of Dig­i­tal Con­tent & Media, JBC Net­work Coor­di­na­tor, and Con­tribut­ing Edi­tor at the Jew­ish Book Coun­cil and a grad­u­ate of Hamp­shire College.