“What color is a heartbeat? What does a word taste like? What is the fragrance of happiness?” Julian Anderson reviews Andreas Izquierdo’s recent novel, The Happiness Bureau, translated from the German by Rachel Hildebrandt.
Where do film noir, post-communist Bulgarian fiction, and black comedy intersect? In Vladislav Todorov’s searing noir-meets-social-commentary novel, Zift. Contributing Editor Steven Wingate and Todorov discuss poisonings, the resurgence of narrative fiction in post-communist Eastern Europe, the idea that “many people enjoyed spying on their neighbors” for the state, and much more.
What is it about the European cultures, tucked like bats into their tiny cubbies, that seems so much more specific than our own? How do Belgium or Luxembourg achieve “culture” in little more space we might use to construct a Wal-Mart megastore? What is it about confinement that breeds a more tribal than national identity? What are we doing when we sit down to read a collection of fiction culled from a continent?
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