We are sad. We don't have a ferryman any more. The ferryman is dead. Two lakes, no ferryman. You can't get to the islands now unless you have a boat. Or unless you are a boat.
It's the night before the Feast in the village of Furstenfelde (population: declining), but not everyone is asleep. The local artist, wearing an evening dress and gum-boots, goes down to the lake under cover of darkness. The village archivist is kept awake by ancient tales that threaten to take on a life of their own. A retired lieutenant-colonel weighs his pistol, and his future, in his hand. And eighteen-year-old Anna, namesake of the Feast, prepares to take her place in tomorrow's drinking and dancing, eating and burning.
On this night of misdeeds and mischief, they are joined by a dead ferryman, a hapless bellringer, a cigarette machine, two robbers in football shirts and a vixen on the hunt - as their fates collide in the most unexpected ways.
The highly regarded and bestselling author Sasa Stanisic was born in 1978 in what was then Yugoslavia (now Bosnia and Herzegovina), and currently lives in Germany. Before the Feast, his second novel, was a bestseller in Germany and won the prestigious Leipzig Book Fair Prize; his award-winning debut How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone has been translated into 30 languages, and is also published by Pushkin Press.
Publisher: Pushkin Press
Number of pages: 320
Dimensions: 216 x 135 mm
Episodic, impressionistic and whimsical... clever and funny -- Tibor Fischer The Guardian Switching among styles with a dancing virtuosity, Stanisic knits a dozen characters into a multi-stranded tissue of gossip, myth and memory... [layering] tales from past and present into a late-summer night's dream... Stanisic makes a dream team with Anthea Bell, who translates with a pitch-perfect ear for every twist and frisk of his German... its sheer versatility of voice and multiplicity of viewpoint mean that this vigil never drags -- Boyd Tonkin Independent A brilliant, quirky entertainment Kirkus Exceptional... cleverly done, and so mesmerising from the off... beautifully written... thought-provoking and energetic Big Issue Offensively gifted... some kind of freak genius Irish Examiner A book like few others. Politically well-versed and stylistically a work of art Die Zeit In literature anything goes, if one can do it. Sasa Stanisic proves, with Before the Feast: he can Welt am Sonntag In Before the Feast Sasa Stanisic tells a story as if there were no tomorrow. His novel is the event of the Spring Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung A storyteller with an infinite well of resources Spiegel Is one allowed to accuse an author of knowing how good he is, when, after all, he is so damned good? taz A furious tragicomedy Spiegel Online A highly talented, passionate storyteller Taz In its combination of the fantastic, the menacing and the inexplicable, it reminded me of nothing so much as A Midsummer Night's Dream filtered through the uncanny lens of Welcome to Night Vale Elle Thinks A furious choral song in prose 2014 Leipzig Book Fair Prize Jury A gifted storyteller Village Voice Unforgettable characters, joyfully inventive storytelling... wise,highly entertaining and full of chutzpah Die Welt