A German Picturesque
Haunting in their tone, brilliant in their images--very like fantastic presences moving across glass--the twenty-one fictions in this startling debut collection seem both inexplicably familiar and like no writing we have seen before.
The opening story leads us through a kaleidoscopic series of thoughts and memories around the act of writing a letter. Another, an intricately structured document of documents--household inventories, daily calendars, property deeds, an announcement--suggests the reality overflowing these mundane markers of our lives. Yet another traces the histories of five artifacts, while at the same time slyly assembling five miniature biographical portraits.
Point of view is important: Elements of a house, for example, are seen from the perspective of an adult and of a child. And a wedding unfolds in conflicting word snapshots taken by the bride and groom and other guests, each providing a unique and sometimes disturbing impression.
Phantasmagoric episodes of travel appear in several entries--an encyclopedic vision of a voyage at sea, a family's cross-country railroad trip through a timeless America, or the revealing journey to Spain by two elderly sisters.
An exhilarating experiment in language and form, A German Picturesque is at once a challenge and a great pleasure to read.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - MSarki - LibraryThing
I need to write a review of this book someday, but anybody who has not read A German Picturesque should do so soon. That is, anybody who demands the highest quality from their literature. Jason ... Read full review
A GERMAN PICTURESQUE: StoriesUser Review - Jane Doe - Kirkus
Likely to please the few and puzzle the many, Schwartz debuts with what may be the most impeccably sustained verbal experiment in fiction since, say, Ben Marcus's The Age of Wire and String (1996 ... Read full review