Emerging European Voices

Posted Aug 12, 2016

This week’s #FridayReads feature some lesser known, but important European voices that are sure to broaden your reading experience.   

Adios Cowboy by Olja Savičević

When Dada finds herself in a standstill in Zagreb, she doesn’t hesitate to return to the “old settlement” to help her sister care for their aging mother.  Dada quickly observes that not much has changed – her late father’s shoes are still lined up on the stairway and her deceased brother Daniel’s Western posters still adorn the walls.  While adjusting back to home life, Dada starts to delve into the mystery behind Daniel’s suicide, but it’s not until a posse of actors arrive to town to film a Western that Dada finds the answers she’s looking for.  Capturing a slice of life from the Yugoslavian “lost generation,” Savičević, 1974-, a poet by trade, utilizes a profound mixture of fortitude, humor, and cowboys to explore modern-day Croatia.    

Before the Feast by Saša Stanišić

The Village of Furstenfelde, an eclectic town that sits in former East Germany, is preparing for the Feast of Anne, but the ferryman is dead.  However, there’s a whole cast of characters – bell ringers, a night painter, an asthmatic jogger, a suicidal pensioner, and a vixen – that share the village’s story.  Then, when the village archives are mysteriously opened, a slew of old stories, myths, and fairy tales escape, co-existing with residents while creating a mosaic of contemporary life and hundreds of years of history.  Told through a series of vignettes, Stanišić’s connections may not be readily apparent, but the characters hold their own in this sweeping tale of the past and present.       

Yuki Chan in Bronte Country by Mick Jackson

In an attempt to find closure from her mother’s death, Yuki, a fashion designer, travels to the United Kingdom from Japan to visit her sister and retrace her mother’s footsteps from a trip she had taken ten years previous.  Considering herself to be a psychic detective, Yuki travels to Haworth, the renowned home of the Bronte sisters with a local girl named Denny who acts as Yuki’s guide.  Having never read anything by the Brontes, Yuki and Denny are making a pilgrimage as well as an investigation into some photographs Yuki’s mother had taken.  As snow covers the moors, more and more pieces of the puzzle start to come together surrounding Yuki’s mother’s death.  Slow and suspenseful, Jackson’s prose takes on a confessional format exploring bereavement, friendship, and familial relationships.     

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