6 More Unmissable Swiss Books
KRIEG UND LIEBE
(WAR AND LOVE)
PUBLISHER Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2018
TRANSLATION RIGHTS Lynn van Leewen,
These essays by Lukas Bärfuss are a real event: sharply observed, pointed, strongly worded.
Whether reflecting on major themes of political or historical importance, or quite practical questions that affect ordinary people, Bärfuss is a writer and thinker of European stature.
He manages to deal with complicated matters in such a way that his clever lines of argument are easy to follow; that we feel drawn to participate in his trains of thought – sometimes with surprise, or astonishment even, always with pleasure and to our benefit.
Lukas Bärfuss writes about religion and belief, about the morality of journalism, and about the life of a commercial traveller in Decalcifiers. He shows that there are no questions, big or small, of which he cannot reveal the major connections and ethical dimensions and make them clearly apparent.
RETOUR DANS L’EST
(GOING BACK EAST)
PUBLISHER Faim de Siècle, Fribourg 2017
TRANSLATION RIGHTS Charly Veuthey, email@example.com
In this novel, Isabelle Flückiger goes to Bucharest in search of her mother’s past.
Together, they discover the country her mother’s family came from, a country she only vaguely remembered as a child. As the journey progresses, her mother’s entire life is revealed, along with that of her ancestors. We are taken right into the heart of Ceaușescu’s Romania, but the focus is on the fate of the Romanian Jews, to which her mother belonged. Isabelle Flükiger also tells the story of her grand-parents, who eventually chose exile in Israel.
This is a family history, in which the author reveals just as much about herself. Going Back East is a magnificent family saga and a superb book, which the daughter offers to her mother. It is carried along on Flükiger’s precision of language and the inimitable style, which has already brought her such success.
LÀ-BAS, AOÛT EST UN MOIS D’AUTOMNE
(DOWN THERE, AUGUST IS ALREADY AUTUMN)
PUBLISHER Editions Zoé, Chêne-Bourg 2018
TRANSLATION RIGHTS Caroline Couteau,
Here is a book in praise of freedom and the slow pace of life; a novel about a brother and sister who’ve always lived under the same roof and under a tacit agreement. Madeleine smokes cigars, is mad about the conquest of space, runs the house and, above all else, protects her brother. Gustave, for his part, doggedly chronicles the world and the things disappearing from it…he walks, photographs, writes about the farming community and how it’s changing, changing its rituals, its tools and, with them, nature itself.
Bruno Pellegrino’s talent is to encapsulate the very essence of this brother-sister relationship and the cocoon they’ve woven in the hollow of their environment, poised between self-sufficiency and symbiosis. The rhythm he breathes into his sentences projects us into a world bristling with colour and sensation, the rural universe of the 1960s, revisited in the language of the 21stcentury.
The inspiration for this first novel is a free adaptation of the lives of the poet Gustave Roud and his sister Madeleine.
(A LITTLE MIST)
PUBLISHER Éditions d’autre part, Geneva 2017
TRANSLATION RIGHTS Pascal Rebetez, Jasmine Liardet,
A contemporary tragedy… in just one day, in his own farmyard, a farmer’s life collapses. Everything he possesses, all his livestock is auctioned off. A world crumbles, told in the passionate, authentic and carnal language of Jean-Pierre Rochat. This novel is a distress call, a cry for help for the world of farming.
PUBLISHER Hanser, Munich 2018
TRANSLATION RIGHTS Friederike Barakat,
In Ralph Urweider’s latest volume of poetry, he‘s the angry young man turned mature poet. His poems observe how objects interlock: “we eat fish that stink of paraffin and / cook with paraffin that stinks of fish”.
In similarly jaunty but astute vein, Urweider dissects the world of plants: “what is the singularness of a snap / compared to the togetherness of a twig / branched boughs are never alone / a branch alone is only wood”.
Ten years after the appearance of his last excellent volumes of poetry, we welcome back a poet, as full of surprises as ever.
EINE DIESER NÄCHTE
(ONE OF THOSE NIGHTS)
PUBLISHER Dörlemann Verlag, Zürich 2018
TRANSLATION RIGHTS Sabine Dörlemann, firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s one of those nights, where you’ve just got to keep on talking. That, at least, is how it seems to Bill, who’s sitting beside Emma on a flight from Bangkok to Zürich. He is well and truly getting on her nerves. He thunders on about his life, what he’s done in his life – and not only to Emma, but to all the other passengers who are forced to listen to him. In spite of themselves, all of them – Emma, Michael, Stefan, Walter and a boy, even the Japanese family in the back row – all of them are sucked into his tales, into the stories and fantasies he evokes. All these stories whirl together in a carousel of unexpected connections and analogies, out of which emerges a strange and secretive central focus. For Bill conjures up powerfully eloquent people, places and odd characters. The twelve hours of this night flight develop a dangerous charm – and not everyone is affected in the same way.