1 February 2013

Me and my cow

Best European Fiction 2013, ed Aleksandar Hemon

In a European short story, anything can happen, whereas in an American short story, it is almost guaranteed that nothing will. This richly strange collection of tales, from all over the old continent, features a nameless thing growing behind a television set, an itinerant theatre troupe who take Brechtian alienation to alarming extremes, and a music shop in which you can buy a CD of Oscar Peterson’s nonexistent “solo recorder recital” in 1967 New York. Aleksandar Hemon’s agreeably obstreperous introduction to his fourth edited anthology itself offers a couple of rough-and-ready heuristics for identifying European writers – they will, for example, show a “disinclination to entertain by deploying TV-friendly banalities masked as social commentary” (I confess I immediately thought of Jonathan Franzen) – but he rapidly tires of the whole question. “For the past few years, every single review of the anthology brought up the question: what is European fiction? I am happy to report I have no clue.”

Read the rest at the Guardian.