Description of a Struggle: The Vintage Book of Contemporary Eastern European Writing

1 Dec

Description of a Struggle: The Vintage Book of Contemporary Eastern European Writing

Description of a Struggle: The Vintage Book of Contemporary Eastern European Writing

Michael March

Language: English

Pages: 436

ISBN: 0679745149

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

a very nice recent anthology with an introduction by Ivan Klima. Though the title is from Kafka, everything is much more contemporary. The Struggle in the title refers to the common struggle shared by the authors and artists of countries under 'totalitarian' rule. This is a very nice place to learn about some new authors.

Forty-three distinguished writers from sixteen Eastern European nations--including Poland, Russia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Albania--provide illuminating studies of the absurdities, tragedies, and conditions of their homelands and the world at large.

and Publishers Weekly blurb:
Editor March's outstanding collection presents 43 short stories from 16 Eastern European nations. Westerners, naturally, will search them for some shared socialist imprint. In his introduction, Czech novelist Klima clues readers where to look: the universal piercing despair and the surreal or absurd attempts to escape it. Despite exquisite, visceral renderings of the likes of Slavenka Draculic, Peter Esterhazy, Bohumil Hrabal and Ismail Kadare, Westerners may never fathom the state control and attendant breakdown of humanity. Nowhere is the bitterness more evident than in the stories from Bulgaria, best represented by Ivan Kulekov's three-page ``My Past, My Future,'' an acerbic contrast of beauty and brutality. Poland's Hanna Krall dispassionately re-creates the life of a terrorist, a life that links the violence of Hitler's camps to the Red Army faction. Latvian Andra Neiburga traces death in quotidian banality, while his countryman Andrei Levkin paints an impressionistic journey of vast futility. The surreal flourishes amid decay in Victor Lapitskii's Russian story, ``Ants,'' while Igor Klekh expounds on the Ukrainian national character. There are some gentle stories, like Albanian Mimoza Ahmeti's wise, lyrical love story. The selections are all well-crafted, moving achievements, expressed with singular focus and metaphor.



















romancing with a German woman. All the Poles had been rounded up in the square and made to watch everything till the end . . . how the boy was pushing the rope away and crying to the hangman. Stanislaw’s sister-in-law does not know how to write it down in German, but it sounded something like this: "Lass mich lebeny lass 44 Retina mich leben . . So if Stanislaw and Gizela met during the war .. . But they didn’t. They met at a dance after the war, when it turned out that Stani was the best

o f Compensations rejected the appeal, because the deceased did not meet all the conditions stipulated in paragraphs 1 and 2, but it also suggested that he could possibly qualify under paragraph 167. Eight years after StanisJaw W .’s death the president o f Koln informed Gizela: T h e Government o f the Federal Republic o f Germany has signed an agreement with the High Commissioner o f 48 Retina the United Nations about a new regulation referring to cases o f persecution based on

next to the stove. Yes. And neither did she stand in front o f the desk, when she asked, ‘Shall I take my shoes offr’, but stood below a large sketch o f a mural commissioned for the wall o f a school. And she blushed. No one answered. She simply stepped out o f her shoes. She twisted 85 Peter Nddas her toes together. ‘I have blisters on my feet,’ she said. My friend S., staring towards the corner, his eyes gathering, collecting, observing all the details, answered shordy: ‘So do other

says the husband and he will chew his unlit cigarette. You have a nice quality o f hair, says the young slip o f a hairdresser, it would suit you better like this, she says, sweeping some hair forward over her forehead with one hand and taking a hairpin out o f her m outh with the other, she bends over her: it’ll be better like this, w on’t it? she says, and the wife in the m irror sees the brighdy hued face o f the young slip o f a hairdresser, her own red forehead, wrapped in a hairnet, with a

in his garden, which he claimed was a space ship. From time to time he used to bring all sorts o f old metal parts which he found on rubbish dumps or bought from scrapyards. Using some designs quite incomprehensible to me, he was working on the inner mechanism o f the bus. He never let me inside, but my daughter had free access. When I asked her what she saw there, she only said how lovely it was. One morning, when she came to see me as usual and we wanted to visit the old man, the chalet was

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