Laura Leaney's Reviews > Best European Fiction 2010

Best European Fiction 2010 by Aleksandar Hemon
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Aug 29, 10

Read from August 03 to 16, 2010

This anthology moves from the completely depressing to the completely depressing. Who can blame the writers? Not me. I can't possibly know what living outside of America's fat and relatively peaceful boundaries might be like - but it's more than interesting to read the artistic sensibilities of Latvian, Estonian, and Croatian writers. The stories here all seem linked thematically by death - and in one fascinating story by Peter Terrin of Belgium, the world's citizens are allowed to kill two people per year. After I read this, I couldn't get the idea out of my mind. Who would I kill? Maybe I'd rebel and kill nobody. I'd probably end up as part of somebody else's quota though - I think I know whose quota it would be, too!

What I didn't care for was the painfully fragmented structure of so many of the pieces. And the lack of character development. And the dearth of interior narrative. But Zadie Smith's preface makes me feel a little parochial in my taste; perhaps I'm just an American behind the times?

Maybe I should be looking ahead. This could be the beginning of the neo-minimalist literary style. Post-post-post-modernism. Should there be another "post" in there? Where are we anyway? Digitalpostmoderntwitterism perhaps. These terms are giving me a headache.
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Reading Progress

08/04/2010 page 33
10.0% "Don't read this if you suffer from eye strain. Such a tiny annoying typeface. But, story-wise, pretty interesting thus far."
08/06/2010 page 106
31.0% "So much dystopia. Might have to take small break."
08/11/2010 page 221
65.0% "Full of very strange plots. Now I know what those interesting Europeans are thinking. Okay, no I don't. What the hell is going on over there?"
08/16/2010 page 340
100.0% "I'll wait until my book club meets to post comments."

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