Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Swiss Book Prize to Catalin Dorian Florescu

Oops, I blinked and missed the announcement of the Swiss Book Prize. It went to Catalin Dorian Florescu, a Romanian-born writer, for his novel Jacob beschliesst zu lieben. 

Apparently it's a 300-year epos of a Swabian family that settles in Rumania, mainly focusing on the Jacob of the title in the 1920s to 50s. Love, friendship, betrayal, dictatorship, deportation, survival - European history.

Reviews have been mixed. A lot of critics loved the sweeping epic and colourful folklore, while Jörg Magenau pointed out that unlike Herta Müller, Florescu seems unwilling to place any blame or find any explanations for hunger, mistreatment and war, and got rather upset about it.

Florescu is reading at February's exciting Festival Neue Literatur in New York - and you can read an English sample from the novel (translated by John Hargraves) on their website.

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