The #EU27Project: Two Months On…

It’s almost exactly two months since I dreamt up the #EU27Project of reading a book from each of the countries remaining in the EU, and about 7 weeks since I set up a separate page for linking reviews. So it’s time for a bit of an update.

I’m delighted to say that a number of you have responded – and it’s doubly appreciated, because it’s not the most intuitive linking method. You have to write the country, the author or book title and then your name in brackets, as it doesn’t have separate lines for each item of information.

We have 16 reviews and blogger Lizzy Siddal has been the most prolific reviewer to date. She has posted two books from the Netherlands: Gerard Reve’s masterpiece from 1947 translated at last into English, and Esther Gerritsen’s description of a toxic mother/daughter relationship. Also, two from Austria: short stories by Stefan Zweig (perennial old favourite) and a disquieting thriller by Bernhard Aichner. There is also a sly dig at behind the scenes of literary prizes by Filippo Bologna from Italy and a collection of short stories by Spanish writer Medardo Fraile described as ‘one of the best I’ve ever read’ – high praise indeed and it’s gone straight onto my TBR list. So here is a bouquet for Lizzy and her sterling work!

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Netherlands is front-runner in terms of number of book reviews. In addition to the two by Lizzy, there is also a review of Herman Koch’s story of personal and social meltdown The Dinner. Joint top of the leaderboard is Germany, with three historical novels. Susan Osborne reviews Summer Before the Dark, a fictional account of Stefan Zweig and Josef Roth spending the summer of 1936 together in Ostende, refugees in vacation land. Joseph Kanon’s thriller Leaving Berlin is set in post-war, post-partition Berlin and is reviewed by Maphead. Finally, Ricarda Huch’s novella The Last Summer is set in Russia just on the cusp of the 1917 revolution.

There are two book reviews for Ireland, both for Lisa McInerney’s riotous description of the less touristy side of Cork The Glorious Heresies: one by Kate Vane and one by myself. Finland can also boast two reviews, both for historical novels: White Hunger by Aki Ollikainen reviewed in French by Sylvie Heroux from Montreal; while Mrs. Peabody investigates Kjell Westö’s The Wednesday Clubwhich provides a rather grim insight into Finland’s troubled history.

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A Greek muse, from theoi.com

Peirene Press is represented with no less than 3 reviews: in addition to White Hunger and The Last Summer, there is also a Danish representative The Murder of Halland which is not so much a crime novel as a story about grieving, reviewed by Karen at BookerTalk.

Another publisher which is well represented here is Pushkin Press, with 5 reviews, most of them by Lizzy, but also Summer Before the Dark by Volker Weidermann. So well done to these two independent publishers for making so much European culture available to us in the UK!

Last but not least, one of the youngest EU members, Croatia, is represented by the book Girl at War by Sara Novic, highly recommended by Maphead.

In terms of personal plans, I’ve already veered away from my original ones. I oomed and aahed about my selection for Germany, gave up on considering Kati Hiekkapelto for the Finnish entry (because her book takes place in Serbia), switched my Irish entry, found a women’s writing collective for Lithuania (still to be reviewed) and am still conflicted about France… And I still have zero inspiration for Malta or Cyprus.

Another thank you to all participants, from my garden...
Another thank you to all participants, from my garden…

Thank you to all the participants and I hope to see many more of you in the months to come. I believe there are a few of you who have reviewed books which would fall into the EU27 category, but have not linked up yet, so please do so if you get a chance. There is no deadline, no pressure, and absolutely no shame in back-linking to older reviews from late 2016 or early 2017.

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29 thoughts on “The #EU27Project: Two Months On…”

  1. This is brilliant, MarinaSofia. It’s great to see the reviews beginning to build, and your analysis of the contributions so far is fascinating. Looking forward to lots more!

    1. I haven’t dedicated quite as much time to it as I’d have liked to – or as I would have if I were still in France and spending more of my days in literary pursuits. But I will endeavour to do better…

  2. Thanks for this, Marina Sofia. The linky will build up in time to an extraordinary reference. I!ve already added two – Mrs P’s Finnish review and Maphead’s Croatian review – to my wishlist.

    I did read Oksanen’s When The Doves Disappeared also which I was going to count for Estonia but decided not to review because I felt lukewarm towards it.

    1. Ah, interesting, that was one of my potentials, because it is one of the few that is available, I suppose. Funny how availability of translation, or lack thereof, can schew our perceptions about a country’s literature. And thank you again for being such an enthusiastic participant!

  3. Congratulations on your brilliant project that’s thriving! This is all rather overwhelming. No way I can participate despite my wishful thinking, this year I’ll probably continue on 12 hour workdays (long story). But I’m looking forward to enjoying all this sometime… in the future.

    1. Oh, dear, sorry to hear that you are having to work so hard… This can’t be sustainable long-term, surely; hope you soon get a chance to relax a bit.

      1. Thanks, it’s just that sometimes one goes through periods one just has to roll up one’s sleeves! Just think how luxurious it’ll feel when things let up a bit 🙂

    1. No rush, just join in whenever you can. As you can see, I have only submitted two reviews myself so far, what with all the things going on in my life at present… Worst role model!

  4. Well done, Marina Sofia! What a brilliant idea, and I’m delighted it’s been so successful thus far. And you know what? Changing (choosing different authors, etc.,) is a big part of a vibrant set of reviews. Wishing you much continued success.

  5. I must get myself organised and add a few back-links. Fascinating to see which countries we all seem to be favouring – does it reflect what’s being translated or is the countries we’re interested in, I wonder. And your spring garden is lovely!

    1. If it were purely availability, then France and Germany would be the top dogs, and so far we’ve had no France at all… in my case, almost certainly because I have too much to choose from, so I get terribly picky. I am currently reading two French books, but I don’t think either of them will make the grade. Or perhaps I should link them – the more the merrier…

  6. Oh, I just assumed that the challenge was purely a personal one. I’ll see what I can link. I’m in a bit of a Schnitzler mood at the moment so there’s a lot of Austrian books coming up. I’m guessing that the country is determined by the nationality of the author, is that correct?

    1. Oooh I’d love some Schnitzler! Quite flexible about the criteria: I do tend to go by nationality of author, but in some cases (like the Finnish author Kati Hiekkapelto), I did not accept that for myself because the action all took place elsewhere. However, feel free to go by location of book as well.

  7. Well done indeed! This is a superb challenge and wrap-out posts like this make me want to throw myself into your challenge with gusto! In all my years of book blogging, I don’t think I’ve ever read a wrap-up post so well-written with such thoughtful analysis. (Not only have you brought a number of promising books to my attention, but a new of bloggers as well.)
    Keep up the good work!

    1. You are too kind. I feel it’s the least I can do, to draw attention to all the excellent reviews out there. Thank you for linking up and hope we will see many more excellent books here!

  8. What a wondeful project! Can’t wait to see if someone reads something from Spain. I guess Carmen Laforet’s Nada will be a popular choice even though she’s not read that much here.

    1. I know you are terribly busy at the moment, but do join in whenever you can, and your Ph. D. is over. I certainly intend to read something Spanish soon: I am (somewhat counter-intuitively) saving up Javier Marias, whom I really enjoy, and am also tempted to read Soldiers of Salamis by Javier Cercas. Any other recommendations?

      1. Oh I’m not a big fan of Javier de Marías. I don’t know in translation, but his novels have a reputation for terrible gender representations… I’d love to know if the translator avoids it.

        Nada is one of my favourites, and if you feel like reading about the Spanish Civil War Almudena Grandes is your writer. Dolores Redondo’s Baztan Trilogy is perfect for crime fiction fans, and Grandes’ The Ages of Lulu is an erotic novel from the late 1980’s if you are searching for some thrill. Let me know if ou pick any of these because I’m afraid they’re the only Spanish novels I can recommend as I usually read in English (and I’m embarrassed to admit it!).

      2. Yes, I have to agree about the gender thing in Marias – I’ve only read 2 books so far, so it hasn’t been blatantly obvious yet, but if I read more I may well find it unbearable. Thanks for the recommendations- will have to see what is available in translation.

  9. The thing that struck me when I saw all reviews posted so far – none of them are from the UK. Are we all trying to pretend that Brexit has already happened 🙂

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