A man, a war surgeon, in conflict with himself, with his passions, with Europe. A fractioned Europe, a Europe closing in on itself. A Europe where history marches on in times of peace as in times of war: blind – and bloodily. What does it mean to be a European? What does history matter? What to do with history gone awry? And what when it’s all about love?
If you don’t want the love can you kill it? What happens when you try?
A desperate love story; a story about European identity, about the binds of history between individuals as well as geopolitically and how to deal with history gone awry, about Europe’s relations to the outside world, especially ‘the other’ (ie, Muslims, blacks, the Southern hemisphere etc) – told through a passionate love story gone terribly wrong. Told in an intense stream of consciousness through the war surgeon Sem Grant, veteran of the Balkan genocides, who in the Austrian capital of Vienna sets out to kill his passion for the one woman he loves but can’t have.
Janne Teller’s novel EUROPA steps right into our current debate on immigration, Eurocentrism and Europeanness.
[Note: the author is half Austrian, and has for years worked within war torn countries with conflict resolution and humanitarian assistance for the United Nations in many parts of the world, as well as having lived all over Europe – and thus, she knows intimately the (multi-)cultural worlds and wars of her characters and of the novel’s setting.]
”Janne Teller’s EUROPA is a great novel in all the meanings of the word. About war and peace, love and hatred, and above all about humanity. EUROPA is an insanely beautiful love story, a novel that keeps offering enigmas, in layers slowly being unrolled … written in a manic, almost hypnotic, musical language, that one just laps up only to read it again and again, hoping to wring out yet more meaning.” – Berlingske Tidende
”Every single sentence in Janne Teller’s EUROPA is thought provoking and mind-blowing. … The story of Sem’s and Zoja’s fatal passion is at the same time a sharp critique of European civilization turned upside down. … a wealth of precise and wise insights about war, love, and about being human in a dramatic and turbulent time of history.” – Kristeligt Dagblad, Denmark
”Janne Teller has written an unusually ambitious novel about love and war. … The novel is told in a gushing, furious, despairing address from an I, Sem, to a you, Zoja. He is a revenger, and just as he narrates the story out of his maleness, he takes revenge by this. … both riveting and harrowing to follow the unfolding of the battle. … Impressive and fascinating.” – Politiken, Denmark
”Here is a novel silencing all complaints that Denmark misses contemporary literature relating to real life. A novel which, with a long sharp cat’s claw, cuts straight through the mendacious eurocentrism, a novel whish doesn’t take easy solutions for an answer, but stubbornly and persistently stomps and tiptoes right through our (mis-)conceptions of history, the essence of Europe, as well as the essence of being a human being. A novel where you feel that the author knows something, has researched meticulously and not least has something to tell which has got nothing to do with her own self. Janne Teller’s novel Kattens tramp is a book, which gives Danish Literature a serious punch in the stomach – and something to live up to. It is possible: at one and the same time to write both with insight, meaningfully, artfully and riveting about both war and love, and about the small and the large story in one and the same novel.” – Maj Misfeldt, Litlive
”A sharp critique of civilization portraying Europe in the wake of the Balkan wars.” – Bibliotekernes lektørudtalelse
”Love and war, Balkan in the 1990’ies. Via a love story we’re taken into the region’s, yes all of Europe’s violent history. Ambitious and demanding, but also fascinating and rewarding. If you want to read about the most intense passions and what they do to human beings, you should read EUROPA. It’s a story about how love becomes war, and how war impacts love … It is highly ambitious in its search for the very roots of causality, and the attentive reader is truly rewarded by both insights and challenges.” – Litteratursiden
”Janne Teller’s novel is a work of art in writing stories into one another. Side by side is told the private ‘history’ as well s the real History as it unfolded in the Balkan peninsula. One of the main questions raised throughout is if the ‘histories’ of human lives are woven into one another or if one succeeds the other. … The narrative is so masterly composed that you read the history of both love and hate at one and the same time. The use of language is poetic and rhythmic … What might seem like a terrible cliché about war and love, is in Teller’s novel elegantly and precisely told, yet always maintaining the vital doubt that offers resonance to all the themes. … a convincing work of art.” – E-pressen
Published in, ia: Danish, German, Hungarian