Among the Bieresch
Translated by Isabel Fargo Cole
6 x 9 inches, 288pp. January 2016
ISBN : 9780857423061
Rs 750.00 (HB)
Young Hans arrives with one suitcase in a squalid village on the eastern edge of empire—a surreal postwar Austria. His uncle has died, and according to the tradition required by his people—the Bieresch—Hans must assume his uncle’s place for one year. In a series of interactions with the village’s tragicomic characters and their contradictory stories and scriptures, the reluctant Hans must face a world both familiar and alien.
Among the Bieresch is Hans’ story—one of bizarre customs, tangled relationships, and the struggle between two mystical sects. The novel, translated by Isabel Fargo Cole, is a German cult favorite and a masterwork of culture shock fiction that revels in exploring oppressive cultural baggage and assimilation. Readers will encounter here an amalgam drawing from Kafka, Borges and Beckett, among others, combining to make Klaus Hoffer’s novel a world utterly its own.
Klaus Hoffer lives in Graz, where he has born in 1942. He has also published essay and story collections and examinations of Kafka’s work. He taught German literature in Austria, Senegal and the USA and was writer in residence at Grinnell College and Washington University, St. Louis. He is a prominent translator of such authors as Kurt Vonnegut, Nadine Gorimer, Raymond Carver, Joseph Conrad and Lydia Davis.
Isabel Fargo Cole is a US-born, Berlin-based writer and translator. Her translations include Boys and Murderers by Hermann Ungar (2006) and All the Roads are Open by Annemarie Schwarzenbach (2011). She is the initiator and co-editor of www.no-mans-land.org, the online magazine for new German literature in English.