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Susanne Gregor: Territorien (Territories).

de    en    fr    span    cz   

Novel.
Graz – Vienna: Droschl Verlag, 2015.
210 p.; hardback.; Euro[A] 19,60.
ISBN: 978-3-85420-966-9.

Susanne Gregor

Excerpt

One night, a telephone call from Nicaragua tears apart the happy life of Emma and Samuel. The sudden death of his father leads the couple to Managua – for the young woman a completely foreign world. Her life had been securely in her own hands: an apartment, a dissertation with a future, yet now she has to let go and get used to opulent meals and the continuous hustle and bustle of family life, while living in a small room in the house of Samuel’s mother, Marta, who rules the roost with a firm hand.
After the funeral, the days pass one after the other, it is hot, the rainy season is still far away, the garden, with its fruits, and the sea make the place feel like paradise, but a coldness is creeping into their married life. Samuel and his sister Celia have inherited their father’s furniture manufacturing company, yet the business is still in its infancy. The young man sees his chance. Yet the more he becomes involved with it, the more Emma discerns that they have been cut off from their life together in Vienna, which still seemed so rosy to her, separated now by a deep divide, the great gulf between Austria and Nicaragua.
Skilfully and intelligently, the author presents the way in which the characters try to keep their balance on the tightrope of their love, yet the fear of a fall manoeuvres each of them inwardly towards their own home ports, where there seems to be no room for the other to enjoy equal standing and dignity. The structures around them have grown petrified and they themselves are probably still too young, and too little established professionally and financially, to be able to throw their own future plans overboard for the sake of the other, despite the fact that she is already expecting a child – or precisely for that reason.
In the end, Emma flees, using the last ounce of her strength to return to Vienna, where other people are already living in her apartment, her job has been taken by someone else, and where her girlfriend just shakes her head in dismay and her parents reproach her. Her child is kicking in her womb and she will have to pull herself up from the sofa.
Susanne Gregor was born in Slovakia in 1981 and emigrated to Upper Austria with her parents when she was nine years old. In her well-received debut novel
kein eigener ort (?no place of one’s own’), published by edition exil in 2011, a young woman from Vienna moves to Budapest to be with her boyfriend, while in her latest novel she describes the circumstances of an intercultural marriage in relation to problems of power and dependency.

Review by Claudia Peer. English translation by Peter Waugh.
Original article: http://www.literaturhaus.at/index.php?id=10785

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