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Stories from Small Town Europe
Edited by Maria Crossan
ISBN: 978 1 905583 13 3
Categories: 21st Century, Anthologies, British, French, German, Irish, Polish, Scandinavian, Translation
Imprint: Comma Press
Published: October 2007
198 x 129 x 8 mm
Publisher: Comma Press
Mirja Unge, Olga Tokarczuk, Gyrðir Elíasson, Roman Simic, Ingo Schulze, Michael O'Conghaile, Mehmet Zaman Saçlioglu, Frode Grytten, Jean Sprackland & Danielle Picard
What do we mean by small town? How has this innocuous term – one up from ‘village’, a couple down from ‘city’ – come to function as a pejorative? Pressed to describe what the phrase ‘small town’ conjures up, we’d be hard pushed to say anything positive: closed-minded; petty; provincial; parochial. On a broad European canvas, however, the rich traditions of short story writing challenge these preconceptions. The stories collected here are neither narrow-minded nor petty, nor do the minds of their protagonists contract to fit their environment.
In Germany, a house-husband is slowly sent over the edge by his over-achieving neighbours. In the town of Odda in Norway, a middle-aged Morrissey fan has a matter of hours to find a girlfriend so his ailing mother can die in peace. It’s the small gestures – a white lie, the turning of a blind eye, a small kindness or a secret kept – that allow the characters of these communities to survive, to breathe easily within the seemingly tight strictures life there can impose. It’s how we do things round here...
Praise for Maria Crossan 'Manchester is fast becoming the UK's most influential centre for short story writing, and much of this is due to the passionate championing of the genre by Ra Page, founder of Comma Press.'
The Guardian 'A fine streetwise cacophony.'
The Independent 'Acquaint yourself with these fresh and varied new literary voices.'
The Independent on Sunday 'Europe is heavy with history and the trace left by cataclysm and upheaval. These are present in these tales, and yet coexist with a kind of wry and knowing playfulness.'
A.S. Byatt in The Times 'A stellar collection.'
The Times Online
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