Olga Grjasnowa was born in 1984 in Baku, Azerbaijan, grew up in the Caucasus, and has spent extended periods in Poland, Russia, and Israel. She moved to Germany at the age of twelve and is a graduate of the German institute for Literature/Creative Writing in Leipzig. In 2010 she was awarded the Dramatist Prize of the Wiener Wortstätten for her debut Play. She is currently studying dance science at Berlin Free University. Her first novel won several awards and has been translated in English as Russians Love Birch Trees. From Words Without Borders
Works I Have So Far Read for German Literature Month, November, 2017
- “You’d Have Larvae Too” by Nora Wagener, 2016
- Vertigo by W. G. Sebald, 2009
- The Last Weynfeldt by Martin Suter, 2006
- “An Earthquake in Chile” by Heinrich Von Kleist, 1809
- Who is Martha? by Marjana Gaponenko, 2012
- “The Legal Haziness of Marriage” by Olga Grjasnowa, 2015
I have, among others, two objectives for this year’s German Literature Month, to read a few 21st century works and and more works by women than I have in past years.
The July, 2015 issue of Words Without Borders, readable online, is devoted to Emerging German Writers. The issue contains seven translated stories, I plan to post upon two of them.
This Morning’s story, “The Legal Haziness of Marriage” by Olga Grjasnowa takes place in The City Jail in the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku. Our central character, Leyla, a young woman has been arrested for speed racing, lately all the rage among affluent youth. The authorties have declared it a Public Safety Hazard, any one arrested automatically is sentenced to ten days in jail. It is standard procedure for the guards to beat those arrested, allegedly to reform their characters.
Leyla has the extreme misfortune to be not just the first woman arrested but young and attractive. She suffers beatings and gropings, her only way of dealing with the misery of this is by escaping into memories of her time as a ballet student. She retreats into The Beauty of The dance.
I enjoyed this story, I’m hoping to read more of the author’s work.
You can read this story and six more, as well as some poems and an introduction at the webpage of Words Without Borders
You can learn more about German Literature Month on their link page