What results, however, is an awkward success story. Unseasonably dedicated to fact and accuracy, positively frightened of omission, Binet has written a tale of Heydrich to defy most academic study. Moreover, Binet has managed to engage.
In 2008 Roberto Bolaño’s 900-page epic 2666 was published. Appearing out of relative obscurity, Bolaño’s novel was soon being discussed as a potential masterpiece and, perhaps more importantly, sustained steady popularity in the bookshops. Sadly though, Bolaño saw none of this: he died only a few months after the first draft was completed and nearly 6 years before the English publication.
Filled with unsettling images and language, Alois Hotchnig’s newly translated collection is an uncomfortable journey, but one made extremely rewarding by innovative narrative and pace. Each of the nine stories in this slim volume are difficult to retell – characters are nameless and locations generic – yet, their force comes not from the particular.
Yet in Federico’s town, pools are pumped and wells are closed. They remove centuries old trees in the square and install a serpent-shaped fountain; they provide more jobs as the spa complex grows, at the same time bulldozing vineyards and cobblestone streets. Federico’s response is extreme but at the sight of his parched land perhaps understandable. He goes guerrilla.