Before the Feast by Saša Stanišić, Anthea Bell (translator)
Stanišić is one of the most wildly imaginative writers of this decade, and Before the Feast is a marvel. The story of a quiet German village (Population: an odd number) the night, er, before the feast. The town is populated by quirky characters getting prepared for the celebration, such as inefficient bell ringers and a night painter, as well as a fox hoping to score a couple eggs for her kit. Adding to the surreal, fairy tale-like quality of the village is the escape of the village’s stories from the town’s archive. Stanišić is a gifted storyteller, and this novel is beautiful and weird and definitely one to savor.
Backlist bump: How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone by Saša Stanišić