Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Monday, November 6, 2017

Best European Fiction, 2018. Including a spotlight on a story by Nora Wagener “You’d have Larvae Too”, translated from German

Works Read So Far for German Literature Month, November, 2017

1.   Vertigo by W. G. Sebald, 1990
2.    The Last Weynfeldt by Martin Suter, 2006
3.    “An Earthquake in Chile” by Heinrich Von Kleist 1809

Best European Fiction, 2018 edited this year by Alex Andriesse, published by Dalkey Archives is the ninth volume in the annual Best European Fiction Series. These books are among the very best ways to keep up with developments in European fiction, discovering new to you writers along the way.  I have been happily following this series since 2013.  During Women in Translation Month (August, 2017) I did posts on several stories by women writers from this wonderful series.  Each author has a detailed biography as do the translators.  

From Dalkey Archives Press

Best European Fiction 2018
Edited by Alex Andriesse
Since its inaugural appearance in 2010, Best European Fiction has become an essential resource for readers, critics, and publishers interested in contemporary European literature. In this, the ninth installment of the series, the anthology continues its commitment to bringing together some of the most exciting prose writing in Europe today. Best European Fiction 2018 is a compendium of stories by both established writers and newcomers, ranging from Ireland to Eastern Europe, ripe for the discovery of curious readers around the world.

Alex Andriesse is a writer, a translator, and an associate editor at Dalkey Archive Press. His writings have appeared in Reading in TranslationProdigalThe Short Story Project, and the Battersea Review. His translation of François-René de Chateaubriand’s Memoirs from Beyond the Grave will be published by New York Review Books in 2017. He lives in Western Massachusetts.  From

Today’s story, originally published in German, by Nora Wagener, from Luxembourg, “You’d Have Larvae Too” is told in an interesting diary fsshion, as she visits her very soon to die barely conscious father in the hospital.  She hated her father so much that she tells everyone for years, including her fiance, that he was dead.

The story consists of a number of short daily journals, in which she is trying to sort out her feelings and find a way to justify her past preverications to to her fiance. I want to share a bit of the story with you to give you a feel for it.

“Around noon, I got a call from St. Eberhard Hospital, some 300 kilometers away. When I picked up, an inhuman-sounding voice told me my father was dying. There must have been some sort of mistake, I replied. I don’t have a father. Then I hung up. This conversation had become more and more frequent before I finally admitted to being the Loser’s daughter. October 25 Three years ago I’d have just gotten in the car, looked in on him briefly, and then gone on with my day—in and out without a single world. Three years ago I didn’t have this ring on my finger: I’ll always try to be honest with you. Luckily, the topic didn’t ever come up again. And just how am I supposed to break it to Matthias that my parents are still half alive? When we met, I told him they were dead,
both of them, and that my father had been the first to go. You’re crazy, he’ll tell me. Forget having a screw loose—you don’t even have any screws left! You’re a monster! Which shows me just how convenient my being an orphan was, even if he’d never admit to it. Whenever I did something strange, he always had an easy explanation: She lost her parents at such a young age. That’s why she’s like this. But not to worry—he was never short of explanations. If he’d ever met them, he could have said, She’s like that because of her parents.”

I enjoyed entering into the consciousness of the young woman, seeing her trying to overcome her hatred for her father, we learn little about what caused her feelings.

I greatly enjoyed this story.

Nora Wagener was born in Luxembourg in 1989. Educated multilingually, she chose German as her literary language and studied creative writing in Germany. In 2011, her first novel, Menschenliebe und Vogel, schrei, was published in Luxembourg, followed by the collection of novellas E Galaxien, which was published in Germany in 2015. That same year, her play Visions was staged. In 2016, Larven, a collection of short stories was published in Luxembourg, as was d’Glühschwéngchen, a children’s book in her mother tongue, Luxembourgish. She has received several awards (Prix Arts et Lettres, Institut Grand-Ducal) and scholarships (Literarisches Colloquium Berlin) in her home country and abroad. She publishes regularly in anthologies and magazines across Europe.  From Best European Fiction, 2018

I highly recommend anyone interested in a very diverse, with an Irish Heart, take a look at the website of Dalkey Archives Press, based in Dublin. They offer lots of very interesting fairly priced works.

Mel ü


Mudpuddle said...

NW exhibits penetrative abilities as regards psychological vagaries... i should think that could take her quite a ways in the modern world of literature... interesting... tx....

Mel u said...

Mudpuddle. Discovering new writers is always rewarding. Thanks as always for your comments