One of the best things about living in Bratislava is its close proximity to one of my favourite European cities – Vienna! By train it only takes an hour to get there and the price for a return ticket is so, so cheap (only €14)! Although I have now been three times, it was only recently that I discovered a Shakespeare & Co. Booksellers there. It is my dream to one day visit the Parisian version, but I was so excited to see what the Viennese one had to offer.
Despite its small and pokey size, Shakespeare & Co was full of charm. There were bookshelves upon bookshelves stuffed with interesting books, from beautifully bound classics to contemporary and ‘funky’ literature. I was particularly interested in the selection of Austrian writers they had and picked up two female authors that I had never heard of before.
The first book I chose was Lust by the Nobel Prize winning author, Elfriede Jelinek. Described as ‘An extraordinary, violent book’ on the cover, I have a feeling that this will be quite a difficult read. But Jelinek’s portrayal of physical and sexual violence within the institution of marriage and her pro-pornography stance in the seventies and eighties reminded me of Angela Carter’s The Sadeian Woman.
The second Austrian novel I bought was The Loft by Marlen Haushofer. Although published in the sixties, it was only translated into English in 2011. From the blurb, The Loft tells the story of a housewife in her late forties who is suffering from the banality of life and the desiccation of her marriage.
On a whim I also decided to buy American Housewife by Helen Ellis as I remembered Naomi at The Writes of Woman reviewing it a while ago. A collection of short stories set in the dark world of twenty-first century domesticity, American Housewife has been described as sharp and comic.