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“A fine example of everyone’s favourite genre: the genre-defying book, inspired by history, filtered through imagination and finished with a jeweller’s eye for detail” JOHN SELF, Guardian

“As we deal with the consequences, emotional and material, of a pandemic, it is hard to imagine a better guide to the resources of hope than Schalansky’s deeply engaging inventory” MICHAEL CRONIN, Irish Times

“Weaving fiction, autobiography and history, this sumptuous collection of texts offers meditations on the diverse phenomena of decomposition and destruction” Financial Times “Books of the Year”

Following the conventions of a different genre, each of the pieces in Schalansky’s Inventory considers something that is irretrievably lost to the world, from the paradisal island of Tuanaki, the Caspian Tiger or the Villa Sacchetti in Rome, to Sappho’s love poems, Greta Garbo’s fading beauty or a painting by Caspar David Friedrich.

As a child of the former East Germany, it’s not surprising that “loss” and its aftermath should haunt Schalansky’s writing, but what is extraordinary and exhilarating is the engaging mixture of intellectual curiosity, ironic humour, stylistic elegance, intensity of feeling and grasp of life’s pitiless vitality, that combine to make this one of the most original literary works of recent times.

Translated from the German by Jackie Smith

Reviews

With this collection of illuminating meditations on fact and fiction, Schalansky cements her reputation as a peerless chronicler of the fabulous, the faraway, and the forgotten
Publishers Weekly
Schalansky's meticulously researched stories are poignant reminders of the extent of our impact on the natural world and a call to honor the animals, objects, and places that, due to our own negligence, have ceased to exist
Kirkus Review
Twelve fictional essays comprise this stunning work depicting animals, places, objects, and buildings that are lost forever. [...] In this smooth and expert translation, internationally best-selling author Schalansky (The Giraffe's Neck) illuminates these "lost" inventoried gems with thorough research and details, making us ponder their transitory quality
Library Journal
A cabinet of curiosities that can be dipped into with pleasure and profit
Rupert Christiansen, Daily Telegraph
Pure gold storytelling
Sjon
A collection of twelve pieces, some essays, some short fiction, some pitched in between, on various things that have been lost . . . most stimulating
David Mills, The Sunday Times
The collection often reads like a disguised and rather ingenious form of memoir, in which vanished landmarks act as foils for the author's own excavations of lost time . . . with a crackling vigour that is well served by Jackie Smith's supple translation . . . Schalansky is at her strongest when she has least need to compromise. But there is no doubt that at these times, her work is very strong indeed.
Lorien Kite, Financial Times
Weaving fiction, autobiography and history, this sumptuous collection of texts offers meditations on "the diverse phenomena of decomposition and destruction"
Angel Gurria-Quintana, Financial Times "Books of the Year"
A fine example of everyone's favourite genre: the genre-defying book, inspired by history, filtered through imagination and finished with a jeweller's eye for detail.
John Self, Guardian
As we deal with the consequences, emotional and material, of a pandemic, it is hard to imagine a better guide to the resources of hope than Schalansky's deeply engaging inventory
Michael Cronin, Irish Times
This genre-defying catalog of things that no longer exist takes on a variety of styles, from researched histories to richly imagined narratives. A vanished island, the Caspian tiger, Sappho's lost poems: Each gives rise to a fascinating study of disappearance.
New York Times