Child of All Nations (Penguin Classics)

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9780713999075: Child of All Nations (Penguin Classics)
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"A delicious novel about an irreverent thirteen year old, Child of All Nations smokes and so does its heroine."-Erica Jong

Kully knows some things you don't learn at school, from the right way to roll a cigarette to how to pack a suitcase. She knows that you can't enter a country without a passport or visa, and that she and her parents can't go back to Germany again-her father's books are banned there. Her mother would just like to settle down, but as her restless father struggles to find a new publisher, the three must escape from country to country as their visas expire, money runs out and hotel bills mount up.

In this utterly enchanting novel, some of the great themes of 1930s Europe are refracted through the eyes of a child who is both naive and wise beyond her years. Irrepressible Kully, her charming, feckless father and her nervy, fragile mother are brought to life through Irmgard Keun's fastpaced prose.

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About the Author:

Michael Hofmann is a translator and the author of several books of poetry and criticism. Penguin publish his translations of Franz Kafka, Hans Fallada, Irmgard Keun and Jakob Wassermann.

From Publishers Weekly:

First published in 1938 and now available in English, Keun's antic road novel set in pre-WWII Europe is a charmer that unfortunately sours. Ten-year-old narrator Kully's problems are bigger than the usual preadolescent angst. With Kully and her mother, Annie, in tow, her father, Peter, a novelist and journalist, has abandoned their native Germany, where many of his colleagues have been imprisoned during the fascist 1930s. The family is constantly on the move, from Poland and Belgium to the Netherlands and France. Peter—irresponsible, frequently broke, too fond of booze and women—has his family living on credit at fancy hotels and scrounges constantly and outrageously off publishers, relatives and acquaintances, often leaving Kully and Annie for weeks on end as he travels to drum up funds. Kully is often canny and amusing, and her dysfunctional family will resonate with many contemporary readers, but her voice and precociousness quickly become grating, and the political impressions of this European Eloise promise more than they deliver. (Sept.)
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