Engel des Vergessens
The Lada Niva in the Rye
The novel beings like a sentimental story based in a local setting, with descriptions of everyday old-fashioned activities. The granddaughter tells stories that were awkwardly noted down in Grandma’s concentration camp notebooks.
Witness accounts of great injustice and pointless victims. Pointless because everything that prompted people to resist enforced assimilation is being continued by political means targeted against those very people who made Austria’s sovereignty possible through their resistance to the Nazis. All efforts to counter the apathy and inability of the majority nation were futile.
Penned in in a reservation, like in Handke’s Immer noch Sturm (Storm Still), where Carinthian Slovenes are likened to American Indians who do no more than wave apathetically - a theatre set, living museum exhibits.
In these recollections, Haderlap has recorded a threatened archaic world that has almost disappeared and is seriously threatened by assimilation. It comes as no surprise that she finds reasons for its continuing existence in spite of the slow-witted, introverted characters. It also comes as no surprise that this book has been so successful in the German-speaking world – stories about outlying areas with Nazi residues still appear to be well received; this world is still working on itself.
Angel pozabe. (original title: Engel des Vergessens)
Translation: Štefan Vevar
Maribor : Litera ; Celovec : Drava, 2012