A powerful and moving novel recounting the life and death of Walter Benjamin from the award-winning author
There is no such thing as history, you see. It’s a dream, perhaps even a dream of a dream …
Walter Benjamin is dead. One of the most radiant minds of the twentieth century has been snatched away by death in a small town on the border between Spain and France. His thousand-page manuscript, carried the length of France during his flight from the Nazis, has vanished with him, never to be recovered.
Jay Parini’s extraordinary novel traces Benjamin’s steps back through time, from the salons of Berlin to the winding roads of Catalonia. A tale of escape and pursuit, Benjamin’s Crossing dramatises one of the most moving peripheral episodes of the Holocaust; and above all, it is a love story.
“Inspired … a piercing, magnificent novel”
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“A poignant and eloquent vision of the great critic’s personality and fate”
“An exciting adventure story … wholly emblematic of our dark age”
“The friends who recall Benjamin come across as vivid individuals, but it is Benjamin himself who dominates the book, and he is wonderfully, infuriatingly alive, an intellectual hopelessly out of touch with his ailing body, curiously and tragically blind to the Europe disintegrating around him”
the Sunday Times
“Painstakingly researched and dramatically recounted … has something important to say about the role of the intellectual in modern Western Society”
new York Times Book Review
Jay Parini has written eight novels, including The Apprentice Lover, The Passages of Herman Melville and The Last Station, which was made into an Academy Award-nominated film starring Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer. His most recent volume of poetry is New and Collected Poems: 1975–2015. He has written biographies of John Steinbeck, Robert Frost, William Faulkner and Gore Vidal. Other works include Borges and Me: An Encounter and Promised Land: Thirteen Books that Changed America.