Angel of Oblivion by Maja Haderlap, translated by Tess Lewis / ISBN 9780914671466 / 289-page paperback with flaps from Archipelago / discounted copies in nice condition (remainder dot, light wear)
Angel of Oblivion is based on the experiences of Maja Haderlap’s family and the Slovenian-speaking minority in southern Austria, many of whom fought as partisans against the Nazis during the World War II. The story centers on the experiences of a young girl learning to navigate the terrain between two hostile communities and two extremely burdened languages: Slovenian, a language of heroic resistance and continued humiliation, and German, an escape from her stifling, rural upbringing but also the language of the camps that claimed the lives of many of her family members. Engaging with themes of tolerance and integration of minority communities, the burden of history, the effects of conflicts on survivors and their children, and language’s role in shaping identity, Haderlap’s novel strikes at problems of paramount importance to our world today.
"Along with everything else she accomplishes with this powerful work — a work of historical witness, a Sebaldian descent into the depths of memory, and a brave and innovative hybrid of fiction and memoir — Haderlap (and her English translator) deserve praise for breaking the silence to bring the stories of Slovenian-speaking Austrians to a much broader audience." — Brendan Driscoll, in The Millions
"[Angel of Oblivion] captures nuances of fleeting emotion thanks to Haderlap’s long-exercised lyric talent while also furnishing as riveting and lucid an account of the Austrian Slovenes in their suffering during and after World War II as will be found in any history book." — Vincent Kling, Translation Review
"A sparkling and hugely sympathetic English translation.... Maja Haderlap is a dramaturge and a poet and her prose is full of rich poetic images and constructions. It is a profoundly beautiful and deeply upsetting novel worthy of all the prizes." — European Literature Network