Richard has spent his life as a professor at the university, immersed in the world of books and ideas, but now he is retired, his books remain in their packing boxes and his ideas about how society works begin to change. One day, he notices a group of African men staging a protest on the Alexanderplatz. His interest is piqued and he visits the tent city they've set up.
He meets Yussuf from Mali, Ali from Chad, Osarobo from Niger and Raschid, Yaya and Abdusalam. He fills his previously empty days helping his new friends fill out forms, finding them work, unofficially helping their official German teacher and learning about the intricacies of asylum law in Germany. But the laws of his land appear designed to prevent the people he has connected with from ever finding a home alongside him.
In this radical, exquisite novel, Jenny Erpenbeck turns her attention to the contemporary refugee crisis and our responsibility in its creation. Simultaneously a passionate contribution to the debate on race, privilege and nationality and a beautifully written examination of an ageing man's quest to find meaning in his life, Go, Went, Gone is a masterful book that is sure to be ranked among Erpenbeck's finest.
Jenny Erpenbeck is the author of The Old Child & The Book of Words (2008), Visitation (2010) and The End of Days (2014), all published by Portobello. Her fiction is published in fourteen languages.