The story of Uwe Johnson, one of Germany's greatest and most-influential post-war writers, and how he came to live and work in Sheerness, Kent in the 1970s.
Patrick Wight is Emeritus Professor of Literature, Culture and Politics at Kings College, London. His books include The Village that Died for England, A Journey Through Ruins, and Tank- The Progress of a Monstrous War Machine.
"A monumental sifting and arranging of local particulars, stitched
against the savage farce of a great European novelist's elective
exile... Patrick Wright has picked over the landfill of a very
specific Estuary culture to devastating effect."
"A double 'biography' of the great but always tempestuous German writer Uwe Johnson and his ultimate home, the gritty and disreputable Isle of Sheppey. 'Biography' is in quotes because Wright is a saboteur of genres and his books encompass multiple worlds. I stand in awe of what he has accomplished here."
"A masterful modernist history, and Patrick Wright's most important book, bringing Europe to England by showing it has always been here, at a moment when too many want to believe something else."
"An extraordinary, haunting book... a phenomenal achievement."
"An astonishing chronicle of the great German author Uwe Johnson, who moved to Sheerness, Kent, in the 70s."
"To repeat: this tidal book, reaching into everything and then withdrawing to show what is left behind, is a triumph."
"A model portrait of person and place, a kind of cultural and literary geography that never fails to fascinate."
"A huge achievement: a comprehensive portrait of a place and a person, and the best book about Brexit that's yet been written."
"Wright is not a biographer or a journalist but a sort of spirit-ethnographer, patient and attentive to change and complexity."
"A glorious rabbit hole of a book ... a longue duree portrait, from the 17th century to Thatcher, of a single location on the edges of British national life."