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Showing posts from February, 2014

Giulio Mozzi - In the eight stories of this collection, we see a steady reworking of the idea of the world as a fallen Eden. Here, in Mozzi’s garden, quasi-allegorical characters seek knowledge of something beyond their shaken realities: they have all lost something and react by escaping, retreating from reality into a world, as Mozzi says, that is “fantastic, mystical, absurd”

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Giulio Mozzi, This Is the Garden, Trans. by Elizabeth Harris, Open Letter Books, 2014.
excerpt

“I read Giulio Mozzi’s first book with real enthusiasm. What struck me most was his everyday language. Even when his subjects rely on metaphor, his words are plain, and so turn mysterious.” 
Federico Fellini

Giulio Mozzi’s first book, This Is the Garden (winner of the 1993 Premio Mondello), astonished the Italian literary world for its commanding vision and the beauty of its prose. In the eight stories of this collection, we see a steady reworking of the idea of the world as a fallen Eden. Here, in Mozzi’s garden, quasi-allegorical characters seek knowledge of something beyond their shaken realities: they have all lost something and react by escaping, retreating from reality into a world, as Mozzi says, that is “fantastic, mystical, absurd.” A purse-snatcher mails his victim’s letters back to her, including a letter of his own. An apprentice longs to be a real person, a worker, in an anonymous…

Jürg Laederach here pursues the ambition of forcing all of human existence into a single novel. space is compressed to the suffocating dimensions of a single mind, while single moments are expanded cubistically into entire landscapes. Bodies are vivisected and reassembled, and language is invaded, exploded, and reassembled

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Jürg Laederach, The Whole of Life, Trans. by Geoffrey C. Howes, Dalkey Archive Press, 2014.

“I can assure you that no movie will ever achieve the speed of prose. Human beings just haven’t realized that yet.” —Jürg Laederach.

With tongue resolutely in cheek, saxophonist, critic, poet, and one-time enfant terrible of Swiss literature Jürg Laederach here pursues the ambition of forcing all of human existence into a single novel. The Whole of Life tells the story of a man, Robert “Bob” Hecht, in three sections: “Job,” about work and looking for work; “Wife,” about sex during a bout of impotence; and “Totems and Taboos,” in which Bob himself ruminates on the limitlessness of human limitation. In Life, space is compressed to the suffocating dimensions of a single mind, while single moments are expanded cubistically into entire landscapes. Bodies are vivisected and reassembled, and language is invaded, exploded, and reassembled. The Whole of Life sees Laederach composing a novel by taking it…

Markus Werner - a Chaplinesque comedy of disintegration, never knowing if it’s coming or going: Zündel seems on the verge of falling to bits, as do his words, thoughts, wife, and world—will there be anything left, and anyone to hold the pieces?

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Markus Werner, On the Edge: A Novel, Haus Publishing, 2016.


A psychological drama with a masterful, pulse-quickening plot revolving around two seemingly very different men, who have more in common than they know.
Thomas Clarin is a divorce lawyer whose profession has fostered a deep and abiding distrust of marriage, preferring instead to “play the field.” Thomas Loos is a somber widower intensely mourning his wife’s death. With Clarin’s flirtatious, roving eye and Loos’s complete disenchantment with the world around him, it would seem these men had nothing in common. But after a fateful meeting in a crowded Swiss restaurant, the two strike up a conversation that unearths unnerving coincidences.
With brilliant ease, Werner’s meticulously rendered story begins quietly at first, then grabs its reader, refusing to let go. On the Edge, widely acclaimed by reviewers as a treasure of contemporary German literature, has been published in 15 different countries and has sold over 400,000 copies…