Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Switzerland!


I'm off to Switzerland for the weekend with my housemates - all very exciting - so unless I'm very organised tomorrow, there won't be anything popping up chez Stuck-in-a-Book for a few days.

I don't know anything about Swiss literature. Either in Swiss or out of it - since I don't speak any languages but English, I'd have to rely on translations, but even then my mind draws a blank - any suggestions?

At the moment, just to keep you updated on my reading habits, I'm reading Civilization by Clive Bell (for university work) and Mrs. Tim of the Regiment by DE Stevenson, which I seem to have been reading for months - it's absolutely fantastic, I just haven't had opportunity to finish it. Also on the go is Try Anything Twice by Jan Struther (of Mrs. Miniver fame), a collection of articles and essays which is very amusing. Ruth (of Crafty People) gave it to me a couple of years ago. Thanks Ruth, these things work their way to the top of the tbr pile eventually!

Since I'll be out of the country for a few days, it would be lovely to have a list of suggestions to which to return - so I'd love to hear about anything Swiss (except the Family Robinson) and, failing that, any European novel you think I should read, so long as there's a translation. Scandinavian is my preference...

28 comments:

  1. Have a great time. Take lots of photos--I bet it's gorgeous there. And I know how it feels to enjoy a book but feel like you've been reading it forever. Hopefully you'll get in some reading time as well.

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  2. 'Independant People' by Halldór Laxness...

    Icelandic is sort of Scandinavian, right?

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  3. Ernest Hemingway writes about his mountain holidays in Switzerland in "A Moveable Feast", (although much of the book is about his Paris/writing life). Hemingway stayed in the picturesque mountains at the head of Lake Geneva, a beautiful region with magical Castle Chillon on the shore of Lake Geneva right nearby which triggered Byron to write The Prisoner of Chillon among other things.

    Anita Brookner sets Hotel du Lac in the town of Montreaux, at the head of Lake Geneva. (It is her Booker book...)

    Then of course theres the Wordsworths, I think Dorothy as well as William was inspired... ( I don't like to leave out poor Dorothy, as had oodles of talent herself, her journals are lovely, and appears to be the unsung wind beneath Williams wings in the writing dept.)

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  4. Friedrich Durrenmatt. Not sure I spelled his name correctly. Mostly a playwright, I understand, but also wrote Der Richter und sein Henker (The Judge and his Hangman), a weakish crime novel.

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  5. Oh which part of Switzerland are you off too? I have been twice in the last year and a bit, its a fav and Lucerne is just stunning, Zurich just buzzing - in a quite way, its wonderful.

    I have to say the only books I know set in Switzerland are short stories by Daphne Du Maurier in The Rendezvous and Other Stories. Oh isnt Hotel du Lac in Switzerland... it might be.

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  6. I was going to suggest "Heidi" by Johanna Spyri but wasn't sure of author's nationality... so went off to check....

    "Modern adaptations tend to reduce HEIDI to the distastefully saccharine--and as such do a tremendous disservice to Swiss author Johanna Spyri, ..."

    so I HAD heard of a Swiss author.

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  7. I was going to suggest Heidi but Ruth got in first. I suppose you could have a go at Rousseau. Have a lovely time, anyway. I haven't been there for years but remember it as very clean and very expensive.

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  8. Farewell to Arms finishes off in Switzerland!

    Make sure you have Movenpick ice cream, raclette, fondu and lindt!

    lge

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  9. A Swiss author I've enjoyed is Robert Walser. I'd start with The Tanners, which is a very funny family saga and the main character is even called Simon!

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  10. Definitely Heidi.

    The Jan Struther is good fun - enjoy!

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  11. There's Max Frisch (novelist and playwright), who was a signficant figure in postwar European lit, and Alfred Andersch, who was German, but died in Switzerland.

    And there's an old favourite, The Rack by A. E. Ellis; it's a superb book set in a tuberculosis sanatorium which could be in Switzerland, if you stretch the imagination a little.

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  12. I recently read A Perfect Waiter by Swiss author Alain Claude Sulzer. Beautifully written, and I think randomjottings reviewed it (or else dovegreyreader). I would suggest borrowing it from a library though, as the story may be too small for a re-read (nothing left to discover).

    Alain de Botton is Swiss-born!

    And Max Frisch is considered one of the most influential Swiss writers of the 20th century, according to Wikipedia. I haven't read anything by him, but several of his works have been translated into English.

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  13. Out Stealing Horses by Peterson for a great Scandanavian choice

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  14. Much 19th-century gothic literature was inspired by and written/set in Switzerland. Not sure if it's what you had in mind, but Ann Radcliffe (The Mysteries of Udolpho) and Horace Walpole (The Castle of Otranto) are masterpieces in their own way!

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  15. The Silver Sword climaxes in Switzerland, of course...

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  16. Set in Switzerland but by a Dutch author, Anna Rutgers van der Loeff: Avalanche.
    Another favourite Puffin book.

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  17. Nothing to add that other haven't mentioned but if you are interested in Scandinavian literature I recommend Peter H. Fogtdal's blog Danish Accent. he ahs a great post on literary fiction from Denmark, Sweden and Norway http://fogtdal.blogspot.com/2009/10/getting-high-school-kids-addicted-to.html
    - I have dropped hints and I know I am getting some of his list for Christmas!

    Have a wonderful time by the way!

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  18. I hope you will pay homage to Albert Einstein, whose greatest work was concenived in Switzerland and to Jan Tschichold who so influenced the design of Penguin Books. Both of these people were of course born in Germany. For literature I'd suggest two adopted sons of Switzerland (at least modern Switzerland) such as Rousseau and the wonderful Voltaire. I write this from close to Ferney-Voltaire as I am currently working at CERN.

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  19. Was going to show myself up by saying the Chalet School ... not exactly Einstein! But then I thought of Tom Coryate, our first (and often very amusing) English travel writer. Although if memory serves he's much funnier about Venice.

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  20. I knew something was nagging at me .. Dr Fischer of Geneva.

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  21. Hermann Hesse appears to have moved to Switzerland when he was 4 and returned to Germany aged 10 - which enables the All About Switzerland web-site to claim him as a Swiss nobel laureate

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  22. Mark Twain's A Tramp Abroad has some Swiss scenes, if memory serves.

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  23. Daisy Miller; Trollop's Can You Forgive Her (don't they go off to Switzerland?); Elinor Glyn's Three Weeks for some fun.
    Nothing wrong with the Chalet School, although I prefer the Tirol based ones really...

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  24. I hope you'll have a great time here ! Which part of Switzerland are you going to ?

    I don't know if his books are available in English but Metin Arditi is one of my favourite Swiss author (although he's Turkish-born).

    "Die Panne", a play by Dürrenmatt is very good, too.

    Lewerentz, Switzerland

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  25. Switzerland isn't in Scandinavia! Get thee to a map.
    I'm heaving a small sigh that you thought 'Swiss' was a language, too. Oh dear. :P
    Yeah I was trying to remember where the Chalet School was when it was in Switzerland but only recall the Tirol... and yes, I think we should be ashamed of that.

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  26. I know that Switzerland isn't in Scandinavia, Mel! I didn't suggest it was, I just said that Scandinavian is my preference for books in translation. Assumption makes an ass of, er, ump and tion.

    And I thought Swiss German was written as well as spoken when I wrote this...

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  27. oh... maybe I didn't read your post properly. Maybe. Ahem. Entschuldigung.

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