Stigmata of Bliss
Klaus Merz is one of the most prominent, prolific, and versatile Swiss writers working today. Celebrated as a master of concise, condensed sentences, Merz brings depth and resonance to spare narratives with lyrical prose and striking images. Stigmata of Bliss brings together three of Merz’s critically acclaimed novellas, offering English readers the perfect introduction to his work.
Jacob Asleep introduces a family marked by illness, eccentricity, and a child’s death. In A Man’s Fate, a moment of inattention on a mountainous hike upends a teacher’s life and his understanding of mortality. And finally, The Argentine traces the fluctuations of memory and desire in a man’s journey around the world. In each novella, Merz takes readers on a profound and intimate journey. Read as a whole, the works complement, enrich, and echo one another.
‘The most generous writers give readers something to do, respecting their imaginative capabilities. The least generous ones explain too much, reflecting credit on themselves [. . .] Merz’s cunning, compressed prose asks us to dismiss the bulked-out rehashings of conventional prose fiction—it invites us to listen for the sounds of the inexpressible, the other side of life.’—Ron Slate, Arts Fuse
‘Venturing into the fictional territory defined by Swiss writer Klaus Merz, one immediately notices the lightness of his imagery and the marked economy of his language. His narratives are slowly and carefully crafted, allowed to form one brushstroke at a time. . . . Although [originally] published separately, there is a wholeness that can be found in reading these three novellas together. The same spareness marks each one, though the narratives have a different texture and energy. No piece extends beyond 60 pages (including the drawings by Heinz Egger that grace the text), but each offers a rewarding and intimate experience that lingers long after the reading has ended.’—Joseph Schreiber, roughghosts. Read the full review here.
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