God forbid you could read only one book this fall but if that was the case, Eva Menasse’s DARKENBLOOM should be the one. We are super happy to spread the word that Norwegian readers will be able to soon, too!
• Rights sold to Norway: Forlaget Press / Croatia: optioned / France: Editions Stock / World English: Scribe Publications / Italy: Bompiani / Netherlands: AtlasContact
• A SPIEGEL bestseller
• Recommended by New Books in German for translation funding
• An epochal novel about historical guilt, the question of remembrance, and the devastating power of silence
Darkenbloom is an eerily comical epic about the wounds in the landscape and in human souls, which, unlike memory, do not fade away.
At first glance, Darkenbloom is a small town like any other. But the story of a terrible crime lies hidden behind the facade of the Austrian community. For decades, Darkenbloom’s older residents have been united by their knowledge of the event – and by their silence about the crime and its perpetrators.
In the late summer of 1989, as hundreds of East German refugees wait beyond the nearby border to Hungary, a mysterious visitor arrives in town, and suddenly things start happening. A skeleton is unearthed in a meadow on the outskirts of town and a young woman disappears. As if in a haunting, traces of the old crime emerge – forcing the inhabitants of Darkenbloom to confront a past they thought had long since been settled.
In her new novel, Eva Menasse paints a vast historical panorama using the example of an Austrian town that repeatedly becomes the arena of world politics, and describes how its inhabitants deal with historical guilt.
Praised in reviews by Die Zeit, FAZ and NZZ among others.
»Eva Menasse has produced a masterpiece. […] While none of these motifs that Eva Menasse invokes are new, it feels like you’re experiencing them here for the first time in Technicolor and Dolby Stereo. How does she do this? Entirely through language. And that is why Darkenbloom is a novel that will last. […] As a novel, Darkenbloom is both a gripping linguistic thrill and a thriller – a thriller about coming to terms with the past. Until the very end, you want to know who knew what, and what they covered up or hushed up. The way Eva Menasse spreads this information throughout the novel in such a way that every word dropped at the beginning is resolved at the end and the suspense grows page after page is absolutely masterful. […] Eva Menasse’s novel is a stroke of genius.« – DIE ZEIT
»Darkenbloom stirs up, saddens, pulls you along – especially through its characters and is undoubtedly one of the most important books of this fall. Great.« – NDR
»Not a reunification novel, nor a key novel: Eva Menasse’s new novel Darkenbloom is something better. In a bitterly comic way, it turns a historical event into the background of a small-town portrait in 1989 […] But where is Darkenbloom’s third master builder, besides God and the Devil, the novel’s author? She’s there just two sentences later in all her sarcasm: „You wish God could only see into the houses and not the hearts.“ Only literature should dare to look into dark souls. Literature like this.« – FAZ
»Eva Menasse has succeeded in writing an unobtrusively dense novel that lets the silence roar. One cannot escape it.« – Kurier
»She found the motto of the third part of this exciting, eventful and always different book that goes up against a great thundering silence and repression in Robert Musil: „Historical is that which one would not do oneself.“ Literature can speak of more than simple truths. In this beautiful case, it makes clear how opposites clash even in the most intimate community. It may be that the great world theatre takes place elsewhere. The swamp of mysteries, one learns in this great and never long-winded book, „has always exceeded those of solved cases many times over.« – Mannheimer Morgen
»Camouflage and exposure, mystery and malice, memory and life lies, historical lies, the colportage of lies of an entire country […] all this is presented lightly and in an anxiety-inducing satirical manner, which on the one hand brings the characters close to the audience and on the other exposes those who allow themselves to be seduced by them. An ambitious, ravishingly mocking narrative project, impressively mastered by Eva Menasse.« – literaturhaus.at
»[Eva Menasse] succeeds in packing the horror into a beautiful, almost warm-hearted language – without, of course, trivialising it. Her laconic language is sometimes reminiscent of that of Wolf Haas, her characters, especially the red-nosed drunkards, are drawn with such precision as if they had sprung from a cartoon by the Lower Austrian Manfred Deix. Darkenbloom is an eerie as well as funny novel about dealing with the past. Where some people struggle with it and where the wounds do not heal, others drink their past away until the memory of it fades.« – Badische Zeitung
»With Darkenbloom, author Eva Menasse presents an eloquent anti-homeland novel, very much in the tradition of other works by Austrian authors who throw coarse-grained salt into those same open wounds and watch with great pleasure as everything ferments and pops and bursts. […] Menasse dishes it out hard. But she does so in a quiet, often witty tone that exposes the inner life and the power struggle of these turncoat villagers of Darkenbloom all the more perfidiously. One of the great strengths of the novel lies in the very fine ramifications, the ends of the bloodlines that have permeated the fictional Darkenbloom for a hundred years.« – NZZ
»What remains? „This is not the end of the story,“ is Menasse’s last sentence. Darkenbloom’s secret – what happened on the night of the massacre of the Jewish forced labourers and where their grave lies – remains hidden. Under the layers of remembrance and the icing of repression. This is quite coherent. Eva Menasse has created a worthy literary monument to Austria’s politics of the past.« – Falter