30 April 1945
With additional text by Reinhard Jirgl (Translated by Iain Galbraith)
The day 30 April 1945 marked an end of sorts in the Third Reich. The last business day before a national holiday and then a series of transfers of power, 30 April was a day filled with contradictions and bewildering events that would for ever define global history. It was on this day that while the Red Army occupied Berlin, Hitler committed suicide in his underground bunker, and, in San Francisco, the United Nations was being founded.
Alexander Kluge’s latest book covers this single historic day and unravels its passing hours across the different theaters of the Second World War. The book delves into the events happening around the world on one fateful day, including life in a small German town occupied by American forces and the story of two SS officers stranded on the forsaken Kerguelen Islands in the South Indian Sea. Kluge is a master storyteller, and as he unfolds these disparate tales, one unavoidable question surfaces: What is the appropriate reaction to the total upheaval of the status quo?
Presented here with an additional texts by Reinhard Jirgl, 30 April 1945 is a riveting collection of lives turned upside down by the deadliest war in history. The collective experiences Kluge paints here are jarring, poignant, and imbued with meaning. Seventy years later, we can still see our own reflections in the upheaval of a single day in 1945.
‘Readers familiar with how Hitler committed suicide on the last day of April 1945 will find that story enmeshed here in a dense tangle of plots playing out on the same fateful day. In this fractured polynarrative, gifted novelist Alexander Kluge depicts the travails of the famous (Martin Heiddegger, Ezra Pound, Thomas Mann) and the anonymous (refugees, scavengers, merchants). . . . A compelling translation of a vertiginous descent into a world-shaping cataclysm.’ —Booklist, starred review
‘Uncompromisingly experimental and resistant to the shaping power of narrative. Kluge creates from the fragments of history the chronicle of a single day. . . . Interspersed with lyrical interludes by the poet Reinhard Jirgl, Kluge’s episodic tapestry allows the reader to appreciate the diverse responses to the imminent collapse of the Reich. . . . Kluge’s 'mosaic of time' shows the endpoint, but also the blossoming of new beginnings.’ —Times Literary Supplement
‘Those familiar with this particular date in history might feel as if they already know the story of the day Hitler committed suicide, but Kluge weaves a tale of all the events large and small that occurred concurrently. From the momentous political occasions to small tragedies, the examination of one single day demonstrates compellingly how the effects of war radiate out from the big players.’—World Literature Today
If you are ordering from India, your order will be shipped from Seagull Books, Calcutta.
If you are ordering from the US or the UK or anywhere else in the world, your order will be shipped from the University of Chicago Press' distribution centre, Chicago.
Please note: For customers paying in currencies other than Indian rupee or US dollar, prices will be calculated according to the currency conversion rate at the time of purchase and may vary from the printed price.