The Thankless Foreigner

Translated by Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp
₹599.00 $21 £15.99

Forthcoming in December 2022

A novel that offers a timely and important reflection on experiences of immigration and on defying the temptation to assimilate in a host country.

In 1968, in search of a better world, a young person flees her country and ends up in Switzerland, the land of hard cheese. There she’s told not to talk nonsense, or not to ‘talk cheese’, as they say in the local dialect. Home is where you can grumble, but here you have to be grateful. Her new environs seem unwieldy, aloof, and she rebels against this host country that insists on her following its rules, that won’t let her be herself. But as an interpreter, she meets many others who have ended up here—petty criminals, depressives, hustlers, refugees, victims of exploitation, and others who have gone out of their way to assimilate, people who share a hope that they can make something new of their lives. Gradually she learns to experience the richness of exile and foreignness, to build bridges between cultures. A brilliantly written novel about the search for identity between assimilation and resistance, Irena Brežná’s The Thankless Foreigner is a timely and important reflection on experiences of immigration.

Praise for the German original:

‘Exile as a paradoxical metaphor, viewed as though through a magnifying glass: deadly serious, profoundly piercing and moving.’—The jury of the Swiss Literature Prize

‘This is a brilliantly written story of the search for identity between assimilation and resistance. No immigrant arriving in these parts has ever before given such an unsparing, furious and insightful account of her life in a foreign place. This is a woman who refuses to be thankful for the right of residence, who demands to be recognized and heard in all her foreignness. She shows us that coexistence is possible only if both parties, the locals as well as the immigrants, emerge from behind their protective armour: the best kind of immigrant one could hope for.’Die Zeit

‘Brežná’s fluid writing style has a lyricism and lightness of touch which communicate her amusement and bemusement at the collective behavioural traits of the native people in her host country of Switzerland. And her moving depiction of the plight of other immigrants ensures that the serious underlying issues concerning poverty, exploitation and political persecution are not underplayed.’New Books in German

ISBN: 9781803090818
Pages: 160
Publication Year: November 2022
Format: Hardback
Size: 6 x 9
Rights: UCP
Series: The Slovak List
Category: Fiction


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