The Thirtieth Year and Other Stories
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
translated from German by Michael Bullock
Ingeborg Bachmann was a winner of the Georg Buchner Prize. I have started a collection of works by recipients of the prize; I highly recommend looking into the collection for those with an interest in German language literature.
series of short stories; here's the table of contents:
Youth in an Austrian Town 7
The Thirtieth Year 18
Among Murderers and Madmen 83
A Step Towards Gomorrah 111
A Wildermuth 139
Undine Goes 177
"[A] complex, finely wrought collection.... Imaginative and evocative.... This powerful book could well become a classic."—Publishers Weekly
"[Bachmann's prose] is acute and moving."—The New Yorker
"Ingeborg Bachmann was a writer of genius."—Mary Gordon, New York Times Book Review
"Bachmann's voice is rare and strong—strong enough to transport us to a new domain of fiction."—Los Angeles Times
From Karen Achberger's Introduction:
"The seven stories of The Thirtieth Year are not narratives in the conventional sense. They are rather moments of reflection, lyrical impressions, monologues, and tightly composed images to suggest a radical rebellion against that ‘worst of all possible worlds' in which the protagonists find themselves. After a prelude ... in which a childhood of fearful obedience is recalled with quiet, dispassionate aversion, the six following stories break open to life’s moments of crisis, of coming-of-age (for which the year thirty is symbolic) in the face of truth or the realization ... that there is no truth. In all the stories there is a yearning for renewal, for another order, for 'salvation,' which at times takes on mythic proportions, and which, though glimpsed for a moment, is clearly unattainable."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ingeborg Bachmann (1926-1973), a native of Austria, is acknowledged as one of the most gifted writers of twentieth century German literature. Her eclectic body of work included poetry, opera librettos, the novel Malina, and a second collection of short stories, Three Paths to the Lake. The "first lady" of the renowned Group 47, her influence extended to such major writers as Günter Grass, Uwe Johnson, and Christa Wolf.
I've only read two of the stories. Stylistic prose. Good stuff. Deserving of an award. Here's the first page from "Among Murderers and Madmen":
Men are on the way to themselves when they get together in
the evening, drink and talk and express opinions. When they
talk without purpose they are on their own tracks, when
they express opinions and their opinions rise with the smoke
from pipes, cigarettes and cigars and when the world turns
to smoke and madness in the village inns, in the private
rooms, the back rooms o f the big restaurants and in the
wine cellars o f the big cities.
We are in Vienna, more than ten years after the war.
‘After the war'— this is how we reckon time. We are in
Vienna in the evening and swarming out into the cafes and
restaurants. We come straight from publishing houses and
office blocks, from surgeries and studios, and meet, get on
the trail, hunt the best that we have lost, like a deer, with
embarrassment and to the accompaniment o f laughter.