Author(s): Marianne Fritz
Description: The Weight of Things is the first book by Austrian writer Marianne Fritz (1948-2007), and the first to be translated into English. After winning acclaim with this novel - awarded the Robert Walser Prize in 1978 - she embarked on a brilliant and ambitious literary project called 'The Fortress,' which earned her cult status, comparisons to James Joyce, and admirers including Elfriede Jelinek and W. G. Sebald. Yet in this, her first novel, we discover not an eccentric fluke of a literary nature but rather the work of a brilliant and masterful satirist, philosophically minded yet raging with anger and wit, who under the guise of a domestic horror story manages to expose the hypocrisy and deep abiding cruelties running parallel, over time, through the society and the individual minds of a century.
Review: "Written in a brisk tone that disguises its destination, this slow-burning horror story steps quietly and methodically into a heart of familial darkness...The war haunts this novel, adding to the weight of everyday things and everyday evils that Fritz so ingeniously dissects." New York Times "Fritz won the Kafka Prize in 2001 and her work, like his, is both deeply upsetting and profound. Her translator writes in his 'Afterword' that 'there is a class of artists whose work is so strange and extraordinary that it eschews all gradations of the good and the mediocre: genius and madness are the only descriptors adequate to its scale,' and he situates Fritz quite forcefully in this class. He seems to be correct." Chicago Tribune "Fritz's poetic auscultation of this weight, this madness, is absolutely astounding, both in its scope and its subtlety. It is difficult to summarize her methods, as they are woven so seamlessly into the narrative...She describes a palpable environment of disorientation and loss, set against a tapestry of gray skies, war-ruined structures, and dark woods into which people disappear." Entropy
Author Biography: Marianne Fritz (1948-2007) was an Austrian novelist. She is known for an ambitious cycle of novels with the overarching title "The Fortress," comprising The Child of Violence and the Stars of the Romani, Whose Language You Don't Understand, and the gargantuan Naturally, which she was preparing at the time of her death.