This little book is a triumph. I have to confess to not being a lover of short stories, but this is in a different league altogether.
Written by one of Austria's leading authors, Alois Hotschnig, it is veritable potpourri of unique observations of everyday life in frequently unsettling detail. Each story packs an emotional punch and, in many cases, presents a conundrum for the reader to decipher. In "The Same Silence, The Same Noise" a neighbour ponders the motive of the couple next door's continual presence on their jetty. Day after day they sit on their deckchairs by the lake side, regardless of the weather. Aside from raking the reeds, they do and say nothing at all. Why does a woman, living close to man's friend's house, entice him in to see her doll collection? Moreover, why does she caress a doll that resembles the man himself? That is question posed in "Then a Door Opens and Swings Shut". For me, the most accomplished story is "Morning, Noon and Night" which portrays a seemingly very ordinary day in any town, anywhere in the world. Yet ,periodically, the author injects a line which is unsettling and out of keeping with the plot line. What has happened in that bustling street? What is the cause of the newly built wall and railings, not to mention the skid marks on the road? What has taken the character to the GP and why?
Oh, and this little book is addictive. You will find yourself reading and rereading each story.......just in case you missed something the first time round! All nine stories are completely different and I defy anyone not to be hooked from the first page.
Another triumph for Peirene Press who have an uncanny knack of selecting the cream of European literature's crop. This acclaimed Austrian author's work has been lovingly translated and this mesmerising collection of stories demands to be read and enjoyed.
This book was sent to me by the publisher for an honest review.