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The History of Historyby Ida Hattemer-Higgins
Synopses & Reviews
A ferociously intelligent debut novel about a young amnesiac's descent into madness in contemporary Berlin, and a country wrestling with its dark past.
A young woman named Margaretstumbles one morning from a forest outside Berlin, hands dirty, clothes torn. She can remember nothing of the night in the woods, nor-she soon realizes--anything of the previous months. She returns hometo her former life.
Two years later, she receives a letter from a mysterious doctor, who summons her to an appointment, claiming to be concerned for her fate. Margaret keeps the appointment, but when sheleaves the doctor's office, the entire city is transformed. Nazi ghosts manifest as preening falcons; buildings turn to flesh; reality itself wheels.
This is the story of Margaret'srace to recover her lost history-the night in the forest, and the chasm that opened in her life as a result. Awash in guilt, careening toward a shattering revelation, Margaret finds her personal amnesiaresonating more and more clamorously with a nation's criminal past, as she struggles toward an awakening that will lead her through madness to the truth, and to the unanswerable agony of her ownactions.
Ida Hattemer-Higgins has written a novel about amnesia-individual, cultural, historical--about memory and oblivion, fantasy and reason, myth and redemption in our time. Anunforgettable story from a bold and prodigiously gifted young talent.
From the Hardcover edition.
Two years after a bedraggled woman stumbles out of the Berlin forest with no memory of what has happened to her, she receives a mysterious letter from a self-styled memory doctor at the same time the city transforms into a horror zone of ghosts and bizarre mutations. A first novel.
A ferociously smart and electrifyingly original debut novel.
2002. A young woman named Margaret stumbles one morning from the forest outside Berlin--hands dirty, clothes torn. She can remember nothing of the night.
2004. An enigmatic letter arrives from an unknown doctor, a self-styled memory surgeon claiming to be concerned for her fate. Shortly after, the city of Berlin transforms. Nazi ghosts manifest as preening falcons; buildings turn to flesh.
This is the story of Margaret's descent into madness and her race to recover her lost history--the night in the forest and the chasm that opened in her life as a result. Awash in guilt, Margaret finds her amnesia resonating--more and more clamorously--with two suppressed tragedies of Berlin's darkest hour.
Harrowing and provocative, beguiling in its lyricism and sensuality, The History of History tells a tale of obsessive love, family ruptures, and a nation's grief. And it is an elegy to the history of history--the role of the German past in the psychic life of the present age. With this first novel, thirty-year-old Ida Hattemer-Higgins establishes herself as a bold and prodigiously gifted talent.
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Ida Hattemer-Higgins left the United States in 2001, living first in Tokyo, then in Bombay, later in Stockholm, and for the past seven years as a student of literature in Berlin, where she has also worked as a walking-tour guide and translator. She now divides her time between Berlin and Moscow.
Table of Contents
PART 1: FLESH — The Persistence of Documents — The Glass Globe — Time, Flowers — The Speculum — The Slur of Vision — Magda's Face — Privacy and Devotion — Don Quixote of the SS — The Whale Ducks — The Concubine's Mind — Sachsenhausen — The History of History — Face Tattoos — Sweet Vitaly — Tales of the Overripe — PART 2: ROPE — Redemption Beckoning — An Expectation of Mirrors — They Played Hearts — Roses for Rahel — The Violence of Nostalgia — Escape from Berlin — A Taxonomy of Sins — Beautiful Albert — The Children of Grimm — A Lesson for Hussies Everywhere — Erich — The Lake of Fire — Dreams During Illness — PART 3: TUNNEL — Iron Waves — The Return of the Tundra — The Isolation of the Fanatic — The Doctors of Charite — The U7 — Reconciliation with Vitaly — The Glow — Margaret — Erich Again — Arrival of the Valkyries
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