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Best European Fiction 2015 by West Camel
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Best European Fiction 2015 (2014)

by West Camel

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I love unique translated fiction and wanted to add more diversity to my reading in 2015, so this collection of European fiction was the perfect first read of the year. This collection includes stories by authors from many different European countries, most of it translated and most stand-alone short stories. The few excerpts from longer works were also enjoyable and easily stood on their own.

Almost every collection of short stories will be hit or miss, but I think this collection will be downright divisive. I either loved or completely did not understand almost every story. Some of my favorites were those which were written in novel, creative formats. I was particularly blown away by a story in a format based on the show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. This story was told through four different answers to each question, with each question having one answer from each perspective and all four telling a connected narrative. If you like experimental literature, I'd recommend picking up this collection for that story alone.

Other stories I loved for the feeling they gave me. For example, one rather strange little story about a woman who periodically coughed up living birds really resonated with me. The ending spoke to me of leaving your every day life and achieving an almost magical freedom. Other equally strange stories didn't resonate with me and I ended them wondering what on earth I'd just read. I suspect all the stories in this collection will leave people feeling that they connected to the story and feeling very confused, depending on the readers own personal experiences. A final group that stood out to me in this collection were those which seemed to have slightly heavy-handed morals, such as one about plastic surgery and inner beauty. Overall, the feel of this collection is somewhat dark, but I enjoyed that, particularly with an introduction that connected the feel of the stories to the current European ethos.

This collection was over-the-top creative and nearly every story was unlike anything else I've ever read. I'd particularly recommend this to anyone who reads translated fiction because it breaks convention.This review was originally posted on Doing Dewey. ( )
  DoingDewey | Mar 26, 2015 |
In this anthology of thirty stories from twenty-eight countries (Spain and Ireland have two stories each) you will find all kind of genres: realism, science fiction, humor, magical realism, folk tales, surrealism… I don’t think anyone will like all of them, but I’m quite sure that everybody will find a few ones that will make the book worth reading.

In my particular case, around a third of the stories were not my thing at all, about half of the stories were good enough to enjoy them, and a handful of them were so brilliant that I loved them. My favorite ones were those written by the Portuguese Manuel Jorge Marmelo and the Spanish Iban Zaldua (“Three Stories”, which in fact were published as three independent stories in one of his collections, and which I had already read in Spanish as I’m a great fan of Zaldua’s short stories), and most of all the stories by Balša Brković from Montenegro and Diego Marani from Italy, two writers I didn’t know and of whom now I’d like to read more. And even at the risk of seeming a chauvinist, I’d also like to recommend the other Spanish story, by Aixa de la Cruz, a young writer I had never heard about before who is represented here with and original and creepy story.

So, although as I said I could have done without quite a few of these stories, the opportunity of reading such a diverse collection of authors and stories and finding a few gems among them was rewarding enough for me. ( )
1 vote cuentosalgernon | Mar 13, 2015 |
I love unique translated fiction and wanted to add more diversity to my reading in 2015, so this collection of European fiction was the perfect first read of the year. This collection includes stories by authors from many different European countries, most of it translated and most stand-alone short stories. The few excerpts from longer works were also enjoyable and easily stood on their own.

Almost every collection of short stories will be hit or miss, but I think this collection will be downright divisive. I either loved or completely did not understand almost every story. Some of my favorites were those which were written in novel, creative formats. I was particularly blown away by a story in a format based on the show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. This story was told through four different answers to each question, with each question having one answer from each perspective and all four telling a connected narrative. If you like experimental literature, I'd recommend picking up this collection for that story alone.

Other stories I loved for the feeling they gave me. For example, one rather strange little story about a woman who periodically coughed up living birds really resonated with me. The ending spoke to me of leaving your every day life and achieving an almost magical freedom. Other equally strange stories didn't resonate with me and I ended them wondering what on earth I'd just read. I suspect all the stories in this collection will leave people feeling that they connected to the story and feeling very confused, depending on the readers own personal experiences. A final group that stood out to me in this collection were those which seemed to have slightly heavy-handed morals, such as one about plastic surgery and inner beauty. Overall, the feel of this collection is somewhat dark, but I enjoyed that, particularly with an introduction that connected the feel of the stories to the current European ethos.

This collection was over-the-top creative and nearly every story was unlike anything else I've ever read. I'd particularly recommend this to anyone who reads translated fiction because it breaks convention.This review was originally posted on Doing Dewey. ( )
  DoingDewey | Feb 6, 2015 |
I love unique translated fiction and wanted to add more diversity to my reading in 2015, so this collection of European fiction was the perfect first read of the year. This collection includes stories by authors from many different European countries, most of it translated and most stand-alone short stories. The few excerpts from longer works were also enjoyable and easily stood on their own.

Almost every collection of short stories will be hit or miss, but I think this collection will be downright divisive. I either loved or completely did not understand almost every story. Some of my favorites were those which were written in novel, creative formats. I was particularly blown away by a story in a format based on the show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. This story was told through four different answers to each question, with each question having one answer from each perspective and all four telling a connected narrative. If you like experimental literature, I'd recommend picking up this collection for that story alone.

Other stories I loved for the feeling they gave me. For example, one rather strange little story about a woman who periodically coughed up living birds really resonated with me. The ending spoke to me of leaving your every day life and achieving an almost magical freedom. Other equally strange stories didn't resonate with me and I ended them wondering what on earth I'd just read. I suspect all the stories in this collection will leave people feeling that they connected to the story and feeling very confused, depending on the readers own personal experiences. A final group that stood out to me in this collection were those which seemed to have slightly heavy-handed morals, such as one about plastic surgery and inner beauty. Overall, the feel of this collection is somewhat dark, but I enjoyed that, particularly with an introduction that connected the feel of the stories to the current European ethos.

This collection was over-the-top creative and nearly every story was unlike anything else I've ever read. I'd particularly recommend this to anyone who reads translated fiction because it breaks convention.This review was originally posted on Doing Dewey. ( )
  DoingDewey | Feb 6, 2015 |
I love unique translated fiction and wanted to add more diversity to my reading in 2015, so this collection of European fiction was the perfect first read of the year. This collection includes stories by authors from many different European countries, most of it translated and most stand-alone short stories. The few excerpts from longer works were also enjoyable and easily stood on their own.

Almost every collection of short stories will be hit or miss, but I think this collection will be downright divisive. I either loved or completely did not understand almost every story. Some of my favorites were those which were written in novel, creative formats. I was particularly blown away by a story in a format based on the show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. This story was told through four different answers to each question, with each question having one answer from each perspective and all four telling a connected narrative. If you like experimental literature, I'd recommend picking up this collection for that story alone.

Other stories I loved for the feeling they gave me. For example, one rather strange little story about a woman who periodically coughed up living birds really resonated with me. The ending spoke to me of leaving your every day life and achieving an almost magical freedom. Other equally strange stories didn't resonate with me and I ended them wondering what on earth I'd just read. I suspect all the stories in this collection will leave people feeling that they connected to the story and feeling very confused, depending on the readers own personal experiences. A final group that stood out to me in this collection were those which seemed to have slightly heavy-handed morals, such as one about plastic surgery and inner beauty. Overall, the feel of this collection is somewhat dark, but I enjoyed that, particularly with an introduction that connected the feel of the stories to the current European ethos.

This collection was over-the-top creative and nearly every story was unlike anything else I've ever read. I'd particularly recommend this to anyone who reads translated fiction because it breaks convention.This review was originally posted on Doing Dewey. ( )
1 vote DoingDewey | Feb 6, 2015 |
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For the past five years, this anthology has stirred reactions around the globe, exciting readers, critics, and publishers alike. Bringing new names and work of European writers to an international audience has shown the vitality of writing from Europe at a time when the number of translations has dramatically shrunk in the United States and England, thereby depriving readers of access to some of the best writing being done in the world today. As in past volumes, special attention is paid to writers from the smaller countries who are usually overlooked (Albania, the Ukraine, Belarus, Croatia, Serbia, Slovakia, Latvia, Estonia, and many others) in favor of the major languages. This tradition continues with the present volume. With a preface by the internationally known Enrique Vila-Matas, Best European Fiction 2015 takes it place among the first five volumes in bringing important voices to the English-speaking world. [Amazon.co.uk]
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