Book Reviews

Book review: Best European Fiction 2010.

This anthology is collection of stories from 30 European countries written by well-established writers and others whose fictitious stories were never translated and published before. They are from Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia, Albania, Slovakia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, and Austria.

Bringing together Irish plot twists with Albanian childhood, Russian science fiction and Italian soccer players – this publication represents a cultural and intellectual window to modern Europe.

North American readers do not read enough foreign books – European, or Asian or African. There are a few modern novels translated because of the lack of demand.
This book was made possible by the generous support of several organizations including embassies and university professors.

The reader is exposed to different styles, thinking ways, cultures, and how formerly Soviet dominated peoples thought and acted. In that sense, stories written by the authors of formerly “socialist. Countries reveal how the government systematically restricted freedom and thinking.

Authors had to be circumspect, or suffered the consequences in many instances. A few internationally famous authors escaped harsh punishment.

All stories tell the reader about the environment and its culture, how people reacted, behaved, and acted in their daily lives.

There is no common thread from one story to the next. It is a refreshing read to change “gears” from one page to the next, some across unfamiliar phrases or totally new ones invented by translators.

Translators are very important and the editor thought highly enough of them to include their biographies. Their interpretation and intimacy with both languages are as important as the authors.

Each author’s biography and personal statements are appended fort eh reader to gain a glimpse into his/her background.

I suggest reading them first, starting on page 361 and then the introduction by Zadie Smith.

The Dalkey Archive Press has rendered a huge service to the North American readership by publishing this anthology.

Definitely worth reading and rereading.

Hrayr Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
 
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