distant transit


Translated from by

Published: Coming March 22, 2022


ISBN: 9781953861160 eISBN:9781953861177
This item will be released on March 22, 2022.


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Book Description

Infused with movement, Maja Haderlap’s distant transit traverses Slovenia’s scenic landscape and violent history, searching for a sense of place within its evershifting boundaries. Avoiding traditional forms and pronounced rhythms, Haderlap unleashes a flow of evocative, captivating passages whose power lies in their associative richness and precision of expression, vividly conjuring Slovenia’s natural world – its rolling meadows, snow-capped alps, and sparkling Adriatic coast. Belonging to the Slovene ethnic minority and its inherited, transgenerational trauma, Haderlap explores the burden of history and the prolonged aftershock of conflict – warm, lavish pastoral passages conceal dark memories, and musings on the way language can create and dissolve borders reveal a deep longing for a sense of home. At its core, distant transit is an ode to survival, building a monument to traditions and lives lost.

Maja Haderlap's poetry and prose combine poetic brilliance with explosive political power.
2018 Max Frisch Prize jury

The desire to abolish borders, to free confined discourse, is inscribed in these poems as an ambivalent back and forth between escape and groundedness.
Ilma Rakusa, NZZ

Haderlap's novel seems to transcend the boundaries between languages and histories.
Iga Nowicz, The Glossa on Angel of Oblivion

Praise for Angel of Oblivion

A first-person narration intimate enough to record an interior journey of self-discovery, it captures nuances of fleeting emotion thanks to Haderlap's long-exercised lyric talent while also furnishing as riveting and lucid an account of the Austrian Slovenes in their suffering during and after World War II...[Tess Lewis] shows her mastery of poetic craft everywhere in her prose narration.
Vincent King, Translation Review

An arresting evocation of memory, community, and suffering.
Kirkus Reviews

In her novel Angel of Oblivion, Maja Haderlap conducts a battle with the horrific pictures of her childhood that is both impressive and oppressive… the act of writing down these memories was a means of liberation. … Maja Haderlap succeeds in creating vivid scenes of an archaic landscape and its rural way of life. One can sense she is a poet.
Die Zeit

Haderlap has written Angel of Oblivion in German with a clear and yet poetic tone, in which time is a solid glacier crushing underneath itself everything that the young hero once saw as wonderful and enduring.
Der Spiegel

Tess Lewis has done a fine job of translating Haderlap’s lucid and lyrical prose, particularly the dread-tinged segments: 'I’m afraid that death has taken root inside me, like a small black button, like a latticework of dark moss creeping invisibly over my skin.' In the end, though, Angel of Oblivion strikes a positive note, becoming a hymn to remembrance – one urging us to salvage and safeguard the shards of our past from the tide of history.
Malcolm Forbes, The National

Angel of Oblivion, with its doomed and colourful cast of real-life characters, as well as multiple cruel twists of fate, is a devastating story, never less than wholeheartedly told.
Eileen Battersby, The Irish Times

Angel of Oblivion is a beautifully poetic novel about a young girl navigating the treacherous terrain between two hostile communities and two extremely burdened languages: Slovenian as a language of heroic resistance and continued humiliations suffered, and German, a way out of her stifling rural upbringing but also the language of the camps, which her Grandmother barely survived and many family members didn’t.
Festival Neue Literatur

The strength of Haderlap’s novel is that it stretches far back in time, in order to make the present recognisable.
Paul Jandl

By telling her grandmother’s story, the narrator finds her own, unmistakeable language, which speaks against the general urge to forget.

Angel of Oblivion is a continuous, plunging attempt to express the disorderly but urgent moment of daring to master the unmasterable. There is nothing so crass here as an ‘arc’ or a redemptive release. The reader is on the hook until the end – at which point the narrative’s underlying premises shimmer.
Ron Slate

Haderlap’s novel brings to mind the work of artist Anselm Kiefer (whose work can be seen at the SFMOMA’s “German Art After 1960” exhibition). His paintings evoke the same desolate feeling of a landscape, natural and mental, poisoned by the Holocaust. Though Kiefer’s art is influenced by foreign myths and symbols, there is that same idea that Maja Haderlap confronts in Angel of Oblivion: that even the generation born after the fall of the Third Reich is affected by its legacy.
Devan Brettkelly, ZYZZYVA