A friend of mine gave me a book of the best European short stories of 2009. I was instantly struck by how dry and academic they were, and not in the best way, in a cheap, shitey way (...) They didn't talk about the real. I want something more rigorous, more challenging than I am finding at the moment.
Don't you just love it? In other words, Tsiolkas read this one book, Dalkey Archive Press's Best European Fiction 2010, and didn't like it, and then the press shouted that he'd dismissed all European writing. I'm not going to bother listing the many German-language writers who do "talk about the real", whatever that may mean. Rest assured, however, that they're not all writing about winged lions and what would have happened if Switzerland hadn't been neutral.
Another thing I can't confirm is the extreme concern with class that Tsiolkas attributed to Europe as a whole:
I feel Europeans are so much more class bound … it feels so much heavier here in Europe, not just in Scotland but in Greece, Italy. That must have an effect on your literature.
Because for whatever historical reason, deriving perhaps from its history of dictatorships, Germany is oddly neglectful of class. It's almost a dirty word here, even though I see class distinctions everywhere through my very British social spectacles. But as soon as you mention it you're branded a backward-looking do-gooder.
I'm not sure Tsiolkas actually made these sweeping statements about all of Europe and its literature. But he's certainly looking rather foolish right now.