What if I’d decided differently? What if I’d done that, instead of this? What if I had defied expectations? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could give life a trial run first, before living it for real?
MÖCHTE DIE WITWE ANGESPROCHEN WERDEN, PLATZIERT SIE AUF DEM GRAB DIE GIESSKANNE MIT DEM AUSGUSS NACH VORNE
(When the Widow Is Happy to Talk, She Places the Watering Can on the Grave With the Spout Facing Forward)
by Saša Stanišić
Luchterhand Literaturverlag, May 2024
We sometimes worry that we’ve been a coward, hesitated too long – and missed out on something that would have made us a better, happier person, with better-looking and more fun pets and partners. This is what Stanišić’s new stories are about: the constant, gnawing feeling that maybe you should have taken the road less travelled, made the less obvious choice, told a lie for once. Like the cleaner, for instance, who, holding a goat’s-hair brush in their hands, finally decides to take the matter of life into their own hands too. Or like the author who travels to Heligoland for the first time, only to discover that he’s actually been there before. Or like the father who’s prepared to cheat, if that’s what it takes to finally beat his eight-year-old son at Memory…
Saša Stanišić, born in Višegrad in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1978, has lived in Germany since 1992. His novels and stories have been translated into more than 30 languages, and have won numerous awards, including the 2019 German Book Prize (for « Where You Come From ») and the 2014 Leipzig Book Fair Prize (for « Before the Feast »), as well as the Eichendorff Book Prize, Schiller Prize and Hans Fallada Prize. He lives in Hamburg.