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Cover for I Am the Brother of XX

I Am the Brother of XX

Fleur Jaeggy, Gini Alhadeff (Translated by)


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As concentrated as bullets, new stories by the inimitable Fleur Jaeggy

Fleur Jaeggy is often noted for her terse and telegraphic style, which somehow brews up a profound paradox that seems bent on haunting the reader: despite a sort of zero-at-the-bone baseline, her fiction is weirdly also incredibly moving. How does she do it? No one knows. But here, in her newest collection, I Am the Brother of XX, she does it again. Like a magician or a master criminal, who can say how she gets away with it, but whether the stories involve famous writers (Calvino, Ingeborg Bachmann, Joseph Brodsky) or baronesses or 13th-century visionaries or tormented siblings bred up in elite Swiss boarding schools, they somehow steal your heart. And they don’t rest at that, but endlessly disturb your mind.

Praise For I Am the Brother of XX

Finely distilled and evocative stories.

Jaeggy is a master of the short form; her essays are charged with a nearly combustible vitality, her stories without fail are compact and devastating. Long after the pleasure of reading is over, their little hooks tug at — what is it, the heart or the mind? I Am the Brother of XX bears the thematic hallmarks of Jaeggy’s fiction...stony family relations and theology that is not merely unorthodox but downright perverse. Jaeggy’s prose is superb (and as superbly translated) as ever, her characteristic desolation as self-possessed as it is recherche´.

— Financial Times

Jaeggy's astute compression of narrative detail is at once serene and startling. Beneath a placid, opalescent surface lurks a threat or violence that may or may not be realized, but which contributes to the profound impression that people and their lives are unpredictable, coursing with icy, barren wildness.
— Los Angeles Review of Books

Jaeggy, a master of the short form, again creates something
unforgettable with these otherworldly stories, translated by Gini
Alhadeff. They frame haunting, dreamlike moments: a 13th-century woman
senses the taste of “Christ’s foreskin … tender as egg skin and
very sweet”; an orphan burns alive the aristocrat who took her in “for
the blasted glory of it”; a family is cursed by a possessed mandrake
root. Told in Jaeggy’s characteristically jagged prose, these dark
stories of madness, loss and murder are urgent and evocative. Central to
each are surreal images reminiscent of paintings by Leonora Carrington
or Max Ernst: “her hands, like the claws of a crustacean, clutched at a
little mound of dust”. This is an intensely beautiful and original
collection that bristles with a strange and often disturbing magic.
— Claire Kohda Hazelton - The Guardian

The fictional stories [ofI Am the Brother of XX] deal with by now familiar motifs of arson, ill health, insomnia, suicide, isolation, hauntings, vendettas and murder: some are Gothic tales of the supernatural, featuring ghosts and saints and mandrakes....And death haunts: the death of Sissi, Empress of Austria, assassinated on the shores of Lake Geneva in 1898; the suicide of the Austrian poet and painter Adalbert Stifter, who cut his throat in Linz in 1868.

— Margaret Drabble - The New Statesman

Startling and original—so disturbing and so haunting.
— Cathleen Schine - The New York Review of Books

Stark, surprising prose. It’s hard to capture in a line or two the strange precision of Jaeggy’s prose. Darkness seems never far away.
— Martin Riker - The New York Times Book Review

This book is twisted and hypnotizing and, somehow, downright lovely.
Reading it is not unlike diving naked and headlong into a bramble of
black rosebushes, so intrigued you are by their beauty: it’s a swift,
prickly undertaking, and you emerge the other end bloodied all over.
— Daniel Johnson - the Paris Review

Jaeggy's prose gleams like cut gems.
— Tess Lewis - The Riveter

A wonderful, brilliant, savage writer.
— Susan Sontag

Fleur Jaeggy’s pen is an engraver’s needle depicting roots, twigs, and branches of the tree of madness—extraordinary.
— Joseph Brodsky

Nothing rivals its intensity.
— The Los Angeles Review of Books

How a novel could be so chilly and so passionate at the same time is a puzzle, but that icy-hot quality is only one of the distinctions of Sweet Days of Discipline.

— April Bernard - Newsday

Jaeggy seems to have crushed a glass in her palm and tweezed out a few shards for the page. Her prose is indeed is also frightening.
— Sasha Archibald - The Rumpus

New Directions, 9780811225984

Publication Date: July 25, 2017

About the Author

Fleur Jaeggy— “a wonderful, brilliant, savage writer” (Susan Sontag) —was born in 1940 in Zurich and lives in Milan. Her work has been acclaimed as  “small-scale, intense, and impeccably focused ”(The New Yorker) and “addictive” (Kirkus).

Gini Alhadeff won the 2018 Florio Prize for her translation of Fleur Jaeggy’s I am the Brother of XX.