Vollmann wins National Book Award

Now, in another remarkable departure, Vollmann surveys the diplomatic, military and cultural sources of the German and Russian experiences of World War II. Europe Central, the winner of this year’s National Book Award for fiction, is a laboriously constructed, multi-footnoted maze consisting of 36 paired narratives featuring both historical and fictional participants in major battles, smaller conflicts and crises and a gradually unfolding Götterdämmerung that links “the war to end all wars? with the succession of invasions and catastrophes that make up the nightmare of history from which Vollmann cannot—will not—awaken.

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