No Such Country: Essays Toward Home
“Lueth is a natural talent with a passion for communication and the quality of his writing can't be overstated; it's of astounding beauty, lyrical and rich, nearly begging to be read aloud.”—Booklist
“Sightline Books is an exciting and welcome promise of all the excellent nonfiction writing just waiting to come into view.”—Vivian Gornick, author of The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative
“I enjoyed joining Elmar Lueth on this quietly graceful intellectual journey, in which he first discovers our country and language and then rediscovers his own.”— Adam Hochschild, author of Half the Way Home: A Memoir of Father and Son
No Such Country explores the idea of home—but a home without clear boundaries, a home in motion. A German who spent ten years in the U.S. and also witnessed the complexities of German reunification firsthand, Elmar Lueth writes about his idea of home, its shape and texture, which has shifted in unexpected and often startling ways.
The autobiographical essays here focus on these shifts, tracing the geographical and psychological borders Lueth has crossed between the U.S., western Germany, and eastern Germany. He writes about his family's business in Germany and examines his ties to this tradition even as he lives an ocean apart, studying and teaching the intricacies of a foreign language in the U.S. Another essay revisits a ferry ride across the Elbe, which formerly marked the border between East and West Germany and now becomes the site of a psychological journey that the author embarks on with his father, into a space neither of them expected to enter. Other essays explore this space and attempt to map its many dimensions, taking readers into the streets of the new Berlin or tracing the difficult legacy of the Holocaust.
These are beautifully written and quietly compelling personal essays about family, language and communication, work, love and marriage, home, history, memory, and belonging. Lueth's journeys will interest anyone who lives or works at the intersection of different spaces, languages, or cultures.