Jules Moreau’s childhood is shattered after the sudden death of his parents. Enrolled in boarding school where he and his siblings are forced to live apart, the once vivacious and fearless Jules retreats inward, preferring to live within his memories.
This beautiful book — compact yet flowing, lovingly translated by Charlotte Collins, understated yet passionate — brings German author Benedict Wells, only 35, front and center among world writers ... When you reach the last words and set the book reluctantly down (you don’t want to leave the world it has woven), you have suffered and lost again and again, and you are smiling ... The End of Loneliness joins the world literature of solitude, including titles such as Gabriel García Márquez’s Hundred Years of Solitude, William Faulkner’s Light in August, Carson McCullers’ The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man ... Although certainly an emotional novel, The End of Loneliness is not sentimental ... Which is why I marvel at The End of Loneliness. Underneath its steady flow, there is a bedrock of kindness, of belief in the power of those we love to bear us up.
Wells’ depiction of young Jules’ grief and the magical thinking that comes with it will undoubtedly affect readers ... A love story and a life story, this rich and well-translated domestic drama acknowledges that some bonds are truly immutable in the face of, or perhaps because of, tragedy and that our memories and the stories we make of them, though they may change, are as real as anything.
...satisfying ... Touching and timeless, the story is expertly and evocatively rendered, in prose both beautiful and sparse enough to cut clearly to the question at the novel’s heart: how one copes with loss that isn’t—or doesn’t have to be—permanent.