Best of the Web

Anna Aslanyan on Fleur Jaeggy

As part of the Republic of Consciousness Prize’s small press coverage in partnership with 3:AM Magazine, Anna Aslanyan articulates the “nothingness” to be found in the novels of Fleur Jaeggy:

The austere simplicity of Jaeggy’s prose is without bitterness or affectation; her characters genuinely believe in the aesthetic ideal of nothingness. It needn’t be understood in a simplistic, literal way. We still want things, Jaeggy appears to be saying, but in our pursuit of them we have to remember that ‘it is only distractions, uncertainty, distance that bring us closer to our targets, and then it is the target that strikes us’. The knowledge that ‘few things are necessary’ leaves her no choice but to use only the right words in the right order. What makes her writing so free of convention, so powerful in its asceticism is her ability to freeze out all that’s unnecessary, to say only what cannot be kept to herself, dropping the rest so as to remain suspended in the void, wishing for nothing to happen.