Troubador Wasp Days

Released: 28/08/2016

ISBN: 9781785892783

eISBN: 9781785896125

Format: Paperback/eBook

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Wasp Days

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The 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage aims to encourage more people to discover and engage with Europe's cultural heritage. In an article in the Swiss cultural magazine SoRock, Felix Epper reports on how Helen Wallimann has contributed by translating Erhard von Bueren's Swiss novels and thus making them available to the English-speaking world.

To read the article (in German) see: http://www.sorock.ch/ausgabe-nr-4/ (pages 54-55).

Interview with the translator, Helen Wallimann, on
https://beautyisasleepingcat.com/2018/11/25/meet-the-translator-of-a-long-blue-monday-helen-wallimann/

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Literary Flits

The Modern Literary Novel

An ordinary man (a librarian) reminiscing about his past life and loves whilst his wife and daughter are on holiday. It is told with humour, reflection and a degree of regret. A pleasant read.

by Rolf Bachelor (NetGalley)


I can't stop thinking about this book. In all honesty this is just a damn good read.

by Marsha Osborne (NetGalley)


I read this book in one go. Somehow you just get carried along in the flow. Nothing really dramatic happens but you're captivated by the different personalities the narrator engages with – in the small Swiss town where he now works as a librarian, in Zurich where he went to university, in Paris where he lived for a couple of years with his wife and little daughter. I liked his reminiscences about all the love affairs and almost-love affairs in his youth – a kind of coming of age story. His description of how he came to have an academic career in Zurich and Paris is particularly amusing. In fact the whole story is told with a great deal of humour. There are descriptions of family life with his wife and two daughters, and we also get a good idea of what life is like in a small Swiss provincial town. The book ends with a journey to China, in a lyrical stream-of-consciousness account by the narrator on his the flight back to Zurich.
And now I want to reread the book – I read it so fast and it is so many-layered that I'm sure a second reading would be worthwhile.
A great book for Book Clubs.

by Heidi Inman


Wasp Days is an unusual book. It took me a while to get into von Buren's previous novel, Epitaph For A Working Man, and I experienced the same adjustment time with Wasp Days. The first chapter is an older man reminiscing about women who had been his lovers in his youth and its sets our narrator up in a particularly unlikeable light, or so I thought anyway! Essentially a perpetual small-scale academic, he sees himself as something of a catch despite relying on his wife, Eva, to whom he is unfaithful, to organise anything practical and to finance their family through her career. Eva is the dynamo of the partnership bringing up their daughters, arranging their house moves and providing their social face, while our narrator potters and hides away in libraries.

I did rather envy him his library-closeted life and, as we get to know him better, I could see what initially seemed chauvinistic arrogance actually as sheer bravado. He might have been daring in a small way in his younger days, but now he is dusty and fading, paranoid about his health and almost afraid to step outside of his clearly defined comfort zones. I never felt sorry for him, but found this novel compelling reading as more was revealed. My wanderlust was sparked by reading Wasp Days too. A late voyage to China is briefly described in fascinating detail and I was entranced by Paris scenes. I liked this book and enjoyed reading this careful portrait of a man of a certain age.

by NetGalley review


Review on Amazon.co.uk

4.0 out of 5 stars

Compelling portrait

By Stephanie Jane on 9 Nov. 2016
Wasp Days is an unusual book which I wasn't sure whether I would like or not. It took me a while to get into von Buren's previous novel, Epitaph For A Working Man, and I experienced the same adjustment time with Wasp Days. The first chapter is an older man reminiscing about women who had been his lovers in his youth and its sets our narrator up in a particularly unlikeable light, or so I thought anyway! Essentially a perpetual small-scale academic, he sees himself as something of a catch despite relying on his wife, Eva, to whom he is unfaithful, to organise anything practical and to finance their family through her career. Eva is the dynamo of the partnership bringing up their daughters, arranging their house moves and providing their social face, while our narrator potters and hides away in libraries.

I did rather envy him his library-closeted life and, as we get to know him better, I could see what initially seemed chauvinistic arrogance actually as sheer bravado. He might have been daring in a small way in his younger days, but now he is dusty and fading, paranoid about his health and almost afraid to step outside of his clearly defined comfort zones. I never felt sorry for him, but found this novel compelling reading as more was revealed. My wanderlust was sparked by reading Wasp Days too. A late voyage to China is briefly described in fascinating detail and I was entranced by Paris scenes. Wasp Days certainly won't be a book for everyone and it meandering pace is sometimes too slow. I liked it though and enjoyed reading this careful portrait of a man of a certain age.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R1MTQSB1H5R0Z7/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B01J4DVAGG&channel=detail-glance&nodeID=266239&store=books

by Stephanie


This was an odd novel for me as I didn't think I would enjoy it..but I really did,

A melancholy tale of a man thinking of his life and what effect he has had on peoples lives.

He has an extraordinary library which I adored learning about.

This is a really good read, I am gifting it to friends who I know will love it and it is one I will revisiting again and again.

by Tracy Shephard


Erhard  von Büren

Erhard von Bueren was born near Solothurn, Switzerland. After a PhD in Psychology and German philology from Zurich University and study stays in France he worked as a teacher in advanced teacher training.

Besides various articles in anthologies and journals, he has had three novels published in Switzerland: Abdankung. Ein Bericht (Zytglogge Verlag, Bern 1989), Wespenzeit (Rotpunktverlag, Zurich 2000), Ein langer blauer Montag (verlag die Brotsuppe. Biel/Bienne 2013).

After Epitaph for a Working Man and Wasp Days, A Long Blue Monday is the third of his books to be published in English.

Erhard von Bueren has won various literary awards including the Canton of Solothurn Prize for Literature in 2007. He lives in Solothurn.

Homepage: http://www.erhard-von-bueren.ch

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