Walter Kempowski: Hamit. Knaus Verlag (Hardcover, Literary Fiction)


Diary 1990

Original Title: Hamit

original edition

Hardcover with jacket, 432 pages, 13.5 x 21.0 cm, 5.3 x 8.3 in.
ISBN: 978-3-8135-0227-5
€ 24.95 [D] | € 25.70 [A] | CHF 34.90 * (* rec. retail price) recommended retail price

Publishing House: Knaus

Date of publication: February 15, 2006
This title is available.


Walter  Kempowski -


It’s easier to leave than it is to come back. This experience is the theme of the third volume of the journals of Walter Kempowski. According to the stars Sirius and Alcor, 1990 was the year of reuniting. For this passionate word-gatherer from Nartum it was the year he set out for the farthest star in his life, his homeland – “Hamit”, as it is spoken in the Erz Mountains.

Homeland, an old-fashion word, was the dominant theme in the life of Walter Kempowski during that first year after the wall fell and the borders opened. The word homeland for Kempowski signified hope and healing through remembering. Yet his return to his once trusted birthplace was for him a strange experience. During the many visits that would follow, and through his readings and conversations, Kempowski searched for the role he was to have in this his former homeland. Is he the lost son who must sneak back without attracting much attention, or the victor, the good uncle from the West? It seemed as if his old homeland had not envisioned any sort of role for him. It is merely able to serve him as a reflection of remembrance, and through this be an opportunity for him to become certain of his own path.

As a parallel to his personal reconnecting, Kempowski observed the rapprochement of the two German nations up through reunification. He feared the same old behind-the-scene deals. He doubted the West German promises of a quick transformation of the East and saw unscrupulous profiteers looking forward to making fortunes from the debacle that had been the GDR. Yet he also felt the atmosphere of great optimism.

In Homeland Kempowski again succeeds with an illuminating mix of everyday life and politics, of writing and remembering. In his personal encounter with the city of Rostock and the former German Democratic Republic, he probed his own origins and traumatic experiences. He experienced from many perspectives what homeland could be, and from this he could conclude only that a longing for homeland is something mysterious and ineluctable. In the end, what remained for him from all this was a feeling of nostalgia.


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