- Books, Quotes, Reading, Writing

A Sentence About a Sentence I Love: From Alfred Andersch’s Efraim’s Book

“On towards four in the morning it starts to rain.”

This wistful sigh of a first sentence opens Efraim’s Book, by Alfred Andersch (translated from the German by Ralph Manheim), a novel that, through a series of interwoven digressions that carry reader and narrator alike seamlessly through time and space, tells the story of an English journalist of German Jewish extraction confronting the past—not just his own past, but World War II and the Holocaust: a novel as hauntingly beautiful as it is unfairly forgotten.

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Peter Selgin is the author of Duplicity, Drowning Lessons, Life Goes to the Movies, The Inventors, Confessions of a Left-Handed Man: An Artist’s Memoir, Your First Page. His writing has also appeared in Glimmer Train, Gettysburg Review, Ploughshares, Best American Essays 2009, Best American Travel Writing 2014, and elsewhere. He teaches at Antioch University’s MFA in Creative Writing program in Los Angeles and is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Georgia College & State University.

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