- Reader profile
[ book tip by Literatur Schweiz ] Time has stood still beneath the dwarf nut tree. Baba Rada reads an evil fate in the cards, while dead Antim crawls into a tree hollow, Ileana becomes engaged and the old red beard finally buries his head in the reeds. In her debut novel, “Baba Rada”, Dana Grigorcea allows her characters to act in a narrative space whose horizons fade away in the glittering summer light or icy cold. In the Romanian Danube Delta, the setting for her book, a hidden world seems to be a law unto itself. In the small village, hale and hearty Baba Rada keeps her family together. She grants her wish for an albino daughter with Mirabelle schnapps and magic. But a mysterious terrorist plunges everything into chaos.
Dana Grigorcea’s novel is a veritable rogues gallery that is difficult to grasp and constantly reveals new stories. The “magnificent barbarism” is presented as a wild blend of fairy stories, rumours, villainy and miserable bawdiness that only appreciates good fortune in the world through legends. Life is at a standstill on the Danube island. The inhabitants have bad teeth; anyone who can escapes from here at once. But those who stay behind do not lose their will and sense of humour and sing defiant songs like “Das Leben ist vergänglich wie die Kopfhaare” (“Life is as fleeting as the hairs on the head”).
Dana Grigorcea’s idiosyncratic signature makes this book an event. She was raised bilingually in Romania and now lives in Zurich. The author succeeds in creating a ghostly prose that drenches everything in a fantastic twilight and only attains schematic contours by virtue of the language. The long titles, which are reminiscent of Baroque literature, enable her to create a resonant narrative space as she continually weaves a convoluted and obscure plot. This is precisely how “Baba Rada” gains a peculiar graphic quality coupling Burlesque comedy with ghostly precision and a hint of tragedy. The bawdy stories emerge from all of this like Baba Rada’s belching “whenever I have drunk this Russian, alcoholic shampoo”.
[ Favourite quote ] «Then the singing started up – time and again, our favourite songs, and we sang along at the top of our voices. One of the carollers moved close to my niece who also sang with bright red cheeks: ‹Life is as fleeting as the hairs on the head, so let us enjoy it.›»
[ book info ] Grigorcea, Dana: Baba Rada.
Das Leben ist vergänglich wie die Kopfhaare.
(Book language: Deutsch)
No results found