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Spontaneous Acts

Author(s): Yoko Tawada, Susan Bernofsky (Translator)

Location(s): Berlin

Genre(s): Novella

Era(s): Early 2020s



Patrik is a literary researcher living in Berlin, a city just coming back to life after lockdown. Though his beloved opera houses are open again, Patrik cannot leave the house and hardly manages to get out of bed.

He is supposed to give a paper at a conference in Paris, on the poetry collection Threadsuns by Paul Celan, but he can’t get past the first question on the registration form: ‘What is your nationality?’

As Patrik attempts to find a connection in a world that constantly overwhelms him, he meets a mysterious stranger. The man’s name is Leo-Eric Fu, and somehow he already knows Patrik . . .

Yoko Tawada’s mesmerizing new novel unfolds like a lucid dream in which the solace of friendship, reading, conversation, music – of seeing and being seen – is examined and celebrated.

Spontaneous Acts reaches out to all of us who find meaning and even obsession in the words of those before us.

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