Though it was originally published in the ‘50s (and this month, newly translated by New York Review Books Classics), the absurdity of Transit makes it feel timeless — like it exists outside of any real time or place. But that’s the haunting part: Transit is a very real story, based on Seghers’s own experience as a German Jew trying to flee France. The result is a darker Catch-22. There’s a sense of dread and hopelessness that pervades the novel. Marseilles becomes a state of existential limbo. The narrator is uncertain what to do while he waits. Should he keep chasing women? Have another drink? Does he even want to leave, if the destination might just mean more waiting?
—A review of Anna Seghers’s Transit in Grantland (a blog that means more to some than others) by Kevin Nguyen. Transit is also a literary thriller in the vein of Robbe-Grillet, and this new translation (we hope) brings it to the attention of all fans of twentieth century European literature.