The Ends of the Earth

by Roger Willemsen / translated by Peter Lewis

‘Roger Willemsen’s daring new book … A rewarding read that questions the art of travel and our human existence.’ – Metro

‘The book’s twenty-two pieces are arranged in an oblique, non-chronological sequence, privileging essayistic musings and explorations of mood, and often favouring a static and precise evocation of place … over descriptions of movement.’ – TLS

‘…The Ends of the Earth ships the unblinking German writer out, not just to the planet’s geographical endpoints – Patagonia, the North Pole – but also its sociological ones: a horrific Mumbai brothel, the crushing bureaucracy of a Congo government department. From these often very final destinations, the rest of the world and the lives in it certainly look a lot brighter.’ – Wanderlust

‘Roger Willemsen delivers this engrossing collection of travel essays that carries the reader to exotic locales while exploring the psychogeographical links that draw them all together. In exploring places considered foreboding by others, Willemsen reminds us of the indomitable human urge to inhabit and understand our environment, however extreme.’ – World Literature Today

‘What will captivate readers and keep them turning pages is the fact that Willemsen’s accounts are just as much profound sketches of life, love, loss, humanity, and society as they are about his geographical location.’ – Jetsetter

‘this is not a simple travelogue, because Willemsen is not just a simple observer’ – Psychogeographic Review

‘A unique perspective on the planet, The Ends of the Earth contemplates a lifetime of travel and puts the spotlight on the strange, the unfamiliar and the extraordinary.’ – Scottish Woman

‘an author with a truly daring agenda’ – Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 

Roger Willemsen travelled five continents to find his very own ends of the earth. Some ends were great and geographic: the Cape in South Africa, Patagonia, the Himalayas, the Southern Pacific, the North Pole. Others were much more personal and unique: the dimly lit corridor of a Mumbai brothel, a hospital ward in Minsk, a fresco of Judgment Day in Orvieto, a government office in the Congo. Yet these striking psychogeographic portraits also relate a different kind of end: an end to love and lust, to illusions, to order and understanding. The Ends of the Earth is about the end of life – and a fresh start.

ROGER WILLEMSEN is a German author, foreign correspondent and broadcaster. His work has been recognized through the Adolf Grimme Award, the Rinke Prize and the Julius Campe Award. Five of his books have featured on Der Spiegel’s bestseller list in Germany and he is an honorary professor of literature at Berlin’s Humboldt University. 

PETER LEWIS has had careers in university teaching and publishing and now works as a freelance translator and author.

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