Best European Fiction 2010

( 3 )

Overview

Historically, English-language readers have been great fans of European literature, and names like Franz Kafka, Gustave Flaubert, and Thomas Mann are so familiar we hardly think of them as foreign at all. What those writers brought to English-language literature was a wide variety of new ideas, styles, and ways of seeing the world. Yet times have changed, and how much do we even know about the richly diverse literature being written in Europe today?

Best European Fiction 2010 is...

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Overview

Historically, English-language readers have been great fans of European literature, and names like Franz Kafka, Gustave Flaubert, and Thomas Mann are so familiar we hardly think of them as foreign at all. What those writers brought to English-language literature was a wide variety of new ideas, styles, and ways of seeing the world. Yet times have changed, and how much do we even know about the richly diverse literature being written in Europe today?

Best European Fiction 2010 is the inaugural installment of what will become an annual anthology of stories from across Europe. Edited by acclaimed Bosnian novelist and MacArthur "Genius-Award" winner Aleksandar Hemon, and with dozens of editorial, media, and programming partners in the U.S., UK, and Europe, the Best European Fiction series will be a window onto what's happening right now in literary scenes throughout Europe, where the next Kafka, Flaubert, or Mann is waiting to be discovered.

Dalkey Archive Press

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Editorial Reviews

Radhicka Jones - Time
“The writers in Best European seem a more adventurous bunch than their American counterparts. They experiment freely with structure and venture more often down the path of metafiction, debating the direction of a story even as their characters are entangled in it.”
Booklist
“Starred Review. Dalkey Archive Press inaugurates a planned series of annual anthologies of European fiction with this impressive first volume…an insightful preface by novelist Zadie Smith…as well as an introduction by Bosnian writer and volume editor Aleksander Hemon, author of the highly acclaimed novel The Lazarus Project.”
Michael Schaub - Bookslut
“Dalkey has published an anthology of short fiction by European writers, and the result, Best European Fiction 2010, is one of the most remarkable collections I've read—vital, fascinating, and even more comprehensive than I would have thought possible.”
Michael Buening - PopMatters
“Though as rocky and subject to reader bias as any wide-ranging anthology, much of the work in this first title is startling in its ingenuity and will hopefully be successful enough for publisher Dalkey Archive to produce more editions. Damn the torpedoes.”
Tom Lynch - Newcity Lit
“If Dalkey can keep it up, this could easily become the most important annual literary anthology in America. Which is ironic.”
Jessa Crispin - The Smart Set
“There are other traditions, ways of being, landscapes that might suit you better than those with which you have been provided, and how will you know that unless you go wandering?”
Alicia Kennedy - Paste Magazine
“This is the first anthology of its kind, and after reading it you may be… furious that such quality work has been kept from you.”
Suzi Feay - Financial Times
“The work is vibrant, varied, sometimes downright odd. As [Zadie] Smith says [in her preface]: ‘I was educated in a largely Anglo-American library, and it is sometimes dull to stare at the same four walls all day.’ Here’s the antidote.”
Jonathan Messinger - Time Out Chicago
“The book tilts toward unconventional storytelling techniques. And while we’ve heard complaints about this before—why only translate the most difficult work coming out of Europe?—it makes sense here. The book isn’t testing the boundaries, it’s opening them up.”
Brian Hurley - Hipster Book Club
“Best European Fiction 2010 should remind Americans of the exciting work being done across the Atlantic, especially by writers who are experimenting with the short story on the fringes of the EU.”
Publishers Weekly
Hemon (The Lazarus Project) edits the inaugural volume of an anthology of European short fiction, and while the maiden outing has many fine moments, there's room for improvement in upcoming years. The mix of authors—35 writers from 30 countries—is excellent and includes better knowns with unknowns, though each piece is allotted an average of 10 pages, leading several of the more promising works to feel truncated. Other pieces (such as Giulio Mozzi's story, originally written as part of an art exhibit) don't seem like the best work to represent an author. Still, there is much excellent work. Christine Montalbetti's surreal and enigmatic “Hotel Komaba Eminence (with Haruki Murakami)” plays on the author's obsession with the Japanese writer. In Igor Stiks's terse but well-managed “At the Sarajevo Market,” the discovery of a watch at a Bosnian marketplace triggers a crisis between war-fatigued lovers. Victor Pelevin's acidic satire “Friedmann Space” evolves into a Borgesian tale of Russian scientists sending “lucrenauts” past the “Schwarzenegger threshold” to report back on the black hole–like domain of the megarich. This is a good start—one hopes that next year's volume will be a more consistent collection. (Jan.)
Library Journal
This first installment in an ambitious new series (remarkably, the first of its kind) brings together 35 short stories and novel excerpts from 30 countries. In his introduction, noted novelist Hemon comments on the dearth of literature in translation available in the United States, citing it as evidence of a general American disengagement from other cultures. With that in mind, selections were chosen for their ability to "cross and trespass all kinds of borders." Almost all of the authors will be unfamiliar to American readers, though a few have appeared previously in English, and the diversity of styles on display is impressive. Among the many highlights are paranoid sf from Peter Terrin (Belgium), edgy realism from Naja Marie Aidt (Denmark), melancholy family drama from Inga Abele (Latvia), and fragile nostalgia from Stephan Enter (Netherlands). VERDICT Arranged alphabetically by country, the collection is ideal for browsing and has something for almost every taste. A few countries are not represented (notably the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, and Sweden), which one hopes will be remedied in future installments. Whether a project of this scope can be sustained remains to be seen, but for now we can be thankful to have so many talented new voices to discover.—Forest Turner, Suffolk Cty. House of Correction Lib., Boston\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781564785435
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
  • Publication date: 12/15/2009
  • Series: Best European Fiction Series
  • Pages: 340
  • Sales rank: 968,014
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Aleksandar Hemon

Aleksandar Hemon is the author of The Question of Bruno, Nowhere Man, and The Lazarus Project, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2008. Born in Sarajevo, Hemon visited Chicago in 1992, intending to stay for several months. While there, Sarajevo came under siege, and he was unable to return home. Hemon wrote his first story in English in 1995. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2003 and a “Genius Grant” from the MacArthur Foundation in 2004. He lives in Chicago with his wife and daughter.

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Table of Contents

Preface: Zadie Smith

Introduction: Aleksandar Hemon

Ornela Vorpsi (Albania): from The Country Where No One Ever Dies

Antonio Fian (Austria): from While Sleeping

Peter Terrin (Belgium: Dutch): from "The Murderer"

Jean-Philippe Toussaint (Belgium: French): "Zidane's Melancholy"

Igor Stiks (Bosnia): "At the Sarajevo Market"

Georgi Gospodinov (Bulgaria): "And All Turned Moon"

Neven Usumovic (Croatia): "Veres"

Naja Marie Aidt (Denmark): "Bulbjerg"

Elo Viiding (Estonia): "Foreign Women"

Juhani Brander (Finland): from Extinction

Christine Montalbetti (France): "Hotel Komaba Eminence" (with Haruki Murakami)

George Konrád (Hungary): "Jeremiah's Terrible Tale"

Steinar Bragi (Iceland): "The Sky Over Thingvellir"

Julian Gough (Ireland: English): "The Orphan and the Mob"

Ornaní Choileáin (Ireland: Irish): "Camino"

Giulio Mozzi (AKA Carlo Dalcielo) (Italy): "Carlo Doesn't Know How to Read"

Inga Abele (Latvia): "Ants and Bumblebees"

Mathias Ospelt (Liechtenstein): "Deep In the Snow"

Giedra Radvilaviciute? (Lithuania): "The Allure of the Text"

Goce Smilevski (Macedonia): "Fourteen Little Gustavs"

Stephan Enter (Netherlands): "Resistance"

Jon Fosse (Norway): "Waves of Stone"

Michal Witkowski (Poland): "Didi"

Valter Hugo Mãe (Portugal): "dona malva and senhor josé ferreiro"

Cosmin Manolache (Romania): "Three Hundred Cups"

Victor Pelevin (Russia): "Friedmann Space"

David Albahari (Serbia): "The Basilica

Dalkey Archive Press

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 24, 2010

    reminiscent

    I decided to buy this to bring back memories of backpacking through Europe and the different people that I've met along the way. I read a review on Time magazine that got me interested with it's uniqueness in contrast to the massive choices nurtured in the US market.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted May 19, 2011

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