009: The Graywolf Annual Nine: Stories from the New Europe

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9781555971694: 009: The Graywolf Annual Nine: Stories from the New Europe
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The subject of "multi-culturalism" versus "Eurocentrism" has been much debated in the United States, most often as if "Europe" was a single cultural entity. This notion is encouraged by the development of the European Economic Community, a vision of a politically and economically united Europe.

The short stories included in The Graywolf Annual 9: Stories from the New Europe illustrate another vision: the remarkable variety of European cultures, from the individual voices of the former Soviet Baltic states to the nuances of Croat/Serb and Czech/Slovak voices, and the surprising strength of Euzkadi (Basque), Icelandic, Irish, immigrant, and Catalan cultures. Despite political pressures to unify under artificial boundaries, economic pressures of the EEC, and a mass market and communications system that threatens to overwhelm localized customs and concerns; ancient, deep-rooted cultures and languages have managed to survive. In a precise counterbalance to the strength of mass culture, regional identities are in fact blossoming throughout Europe.

These stories are told by writers whose use of their native language has resulted in their imprisonment, by Nobel Prize winners, by writers whose large audience is entirely "underground." Among authors included in this Graywolf Annual are Ivan Klíma, Mercè Rodoreda, Danilo Kis, Halldór Laxness, and Dubravka Ugresic.

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These stories vividly illustrate that strong regional cultures, crossing over national boundaries, exist. Many of the writers live in repressive political situations--the backgrounds represented include Basque, Catalan, Croatian, Estonian, Irish, Icelandic, Latvian, Lithuanian, Lebanese, and Serbian--but still have a wide underground following. Authors include Ivan Klima, Merce Rodoreda, Danilo Kis, Haldor Laxness, Dubravka Ugresic, and others. The stories' themes and styles vary from pastoral to bleak; some are erotic and others absurd. This high-quality collection merits inclusion in public and academic libraries, both for literary and current events reasons.
-Ann Irvine, Montgomery Cty. P.L., Md.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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