Best European Countries 2012

Ranked by how much I liked the story from that country in Best European Fiction 2012. (You’ll notice some countries are on here twice because stories from that country that are in more than different language were included in the collection. And also that the countries of the UK are each counted separately. And also that all of the countries of Europe are not on this list because stories from some countries were not included in the collection.)

1. Czech Republic – “I, Loshad”, Jiri Kratochvil
2. Norway – “Down There They Don’t Mourn”, Bjarte Breiteig
3. Switzerland (French) – “The Children”, Noelle Revaz
4. Iceland – “The Ice People”, Gerdur Kristny
5. France – “Juergen the Perfect Son-in-Law”, Marie Darrieuessecq
6. Hungary – “When There Were Only Animals”, Zsofia Ban
7. Ireland (English) – “Kennedy”, Desmond Hogan
8. Georgia – “Before the End”, David Dephy
9. Bosnia and Herzegovina – “Magic” and “Sarajevo”, Muharem Bazdulj
10. Wales (English) – “Bigamy”, Duncan Bush
11. Liechtenstein (German) – “Tomorrow It’s Deggendorf”, Patrick Boltshauser
12. Scotland (English) – “enough to make your heart”, Donal McLaughlin
13. Slovenia – “Memorinth”, Branko Gradisnik
14. Ireland (Irish) – “…everything emptying into white”, Gabriel Rosenstock
15. Netherlands – “Pearl”, Sanneke van Hassel
16. Portugal – “Tourist Destination”, Rui Zink
17. Croatia – “Zlatka”, Maja Hrgovic
18. Estonia – “Logisticians Anonymous”, Armin Koomagi
19. Belgium (Dutch) – “My Hand is Exhausted”, Patricia de Martelaere
20. Poland – “The Sorrows of Idiot Augustus”, Janusz Rudnicki
21. Belgium (French) – “Rara Avis”, Bernard Quiriny
22. Switzerland (Rhaeto-Romanic & German) – “Sez Ner”, Arno Camenisch
23. Finland – “Passiontide”, Maritta Lintunen
24. Germany – “The Case of M.”, Clemens Meyer
25. Serbia – “Without Fear of Change”, Marija Knezevic
26. Russia – “The Telescope”, Danila Davydov

These have been left unranked because I just couldn’t finish these stories. (Maybe if I had read them in a different time and place I would have liked them, but for whatever reason, they just weren’t clicking with me.)
– Spain (Galician) – Agustin Fernandez Paz
– Slovakia – “Agnomia”, Robert Gal
– England – “Catastrophe”, Lee Rourke


I’ve been making my way through this book for a little while now. (See here and here.)

I was very surprised by some of the stories I liked and disliked in this year’s collection. (Actually, technically last year’s collection since 2013 is coming out next month.) I’m not sure how I would have felt about some of the stories if the collection had been set up differently. In the past, the stories were ordered alphabetically by country. This year, they were organized by category. I was fairly consumed by trying to figure out how some of the stories fit into their particular categories while reading. So, maybe I had higher or lower opinions of some stories than I would have if they had not been organized by category since I may have been judging them based on how well they fit into a category like “Love” or “Music”? I don’t know.

Anyway, I would recommend that anyone who enjoys reading fiction to take a look at this book. Literature in translation! It’s a great thing that we don’t often pay attention to these days.

[Image via Dalkey Archive]

Friday Reads: Stuff I Read That I Liked This Week

Around the internet:

– Edith Zimmerman on Joseph Kennedy III (The New York Times): From this weekend’s Magazine.

– “A Teenager Tries to Make the Best of Hosting Her Middle-Ages Party at the Same Time as Her Older Brother’s Lacrosse Team’s Kegger” (McSweeney’s)

– “After the End of Men” (The Awl): What happens when men disappear.

– Michael Lewis on Barack Obama (Vanity Fair): Probably the best Obama profile I’ve read…maybe ever?

– “Is This Book Bad, or Is It Just Me? The Anatomy of Book Reviews” (The Millions)

– “The City That Pays For College” (The New York Times): Another New York Times Magazine article. This one’s about the city of Kalamazoo, MI’s Promise program.

– “The Land That Time and Money Forgot” (New York Magazine): Mark Jacobson writes about the current state of the New York City Housing Authority. (Actually, I read this one in print but it’s available online.)


Best European Fiction 2012 ed. by Aleksander Hemon: I’m probably 2/3 of the way done with the short stories in here and I’ll definitely write more about this later.