Beast of the Best

27 Jan

Let me forgo my normal grousing about the superlative “best” and its place in literary conversation (this suspension will last until I can find a new way to fulminate on this particular stone in my shoe.)

Of all the current “Best of ” anthologies one which I find particularly useful is the Best European Fiction (Dalkey Archive), now in its newest edition (2011) and still edited by Chicago (by way of Bosnia) novelist Aleksandar Hemon, and in this iteration, with a preface by New York (by way of Ireland )novelist National Book Award winner and, I ‘d like to think, old pal Colum McCann.

Of the satisfying things that accompany efforts such as this European Literature anthology is the conversation that is stimulated. As in Colum Mcann’s well-thought out and well-written remarks, which include this observation:

What seems healthy—at least at first glance, and certainly in light of 20th-century history—is that there is a lack of presumptive nationalism in the term “European.” It appears, at least for now, a good deal less nationalistic than being American or Australian or even African. The growing chorus of voices that Europe has access to, the fluidity of movement from one country to the other, and the stew of languages from which it serves, makes Europe into the world’s largest petri dish.

Here, by the way, are the writers included in this tome:

Wiliam Owen Roberts [United Kingdom: Wales]
Hilary Mantel [United Kingdom: England]
Ersan Üldes [Turkey]
Verena Stefan [Switzerland]
Mercè Ibarz [Spain: Catalan]
Drago Jančar [Slovenia]
Vladimir Arsenijević [Serbia]
Andrei Gelasimov [Russia]
Lucian Dan Teodorovici [Romania]
Gonçalo M. Tavares [Portugal]
Olga Tokarczuk [Poland]
Frode Grytten [Norway]
Ognjen Spahić [Montenegro]
Iulian Ciocan [Moldova]
Blaže Minevski [Macedonia]
Danutė Kalinauskaitė [Lithuania]
Stefan Sprenger [Liechtenstein]
Nora Ikstena [Latvia]
Marco Candida [Italy]
Éilís Ní Dhuibhne [Ireland: Irish]
Kevin Barry [Ireland: English]
Kristín Eiríksdóttir [Iceland]
Ingo Schulze [Germany]
Anita Konkka [Finland]
Toomas Vint [Estonia]
Peter Adolphsen [Denmark]
Michal Ajvaz [Czech Republic]
Nora Nadjarian [Cyprus]
Mima Simić [Croatia]
Alek Popov [Bulgaria]
Goran Samardžić [Bosnia and Herzegovina]
François Emmanuel [Belgium]
Victor Martinovich [Belarus]
Dieter Sperl [Austria]
Arian Leka [Albania]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: