Helga M. Novak
Residence in a Mad House
342pp (90,000 words)
AUFENTHALT IN EINEM IRREN HAUS is a collection of Helga M. Novak‘s prose of thirty years, beginning with her first book of prose Geselliges Beisammensein (1968) up until unpublished texts from recent years. For the very first time the work of an unconventional and »tender-brusque« poet is concise, being far removed from constraints of conformity, Zeitgeist or courtesy.
Helga M. Novaks prose is direct, rough and ruthless, she describes the facts, what she sees, what is happening to her. We hear about work in Islandic factories, about life and exclusion in each part of the divided Germany, about agricultural workers in Portugal, about circumstances in Poland today. Wherever she lives and works, she experiences and describes - always in a direct, critical and exact manner. Her prose reflects her incorruptibility and cardour, her distinctive literature based upon her own experiences and written in her language of precision and honesty.
»Helga M. Novak creates tension by reduction: instead of a tirade of hatred against those in power, there are concise descriptions of daily life. And with every detail she uncovers a little contempt for mankind.«
»Helga M. Novak reveals herself as a modern vagabond who travels delightfully through Europe prepared to take risks. Like a chronicler she notes probing and unyielding what is happening. This rational rigorour and durability fascinates the reader more and more each page.«
»A unique voice within comtemporary literature.«