Before the Feast

Saša Stanišic

Translated by Anthea Bell


320 pp

Published 03/11/2016

ISBN 9781782271758

Winner of the Leipzig Book Fair Prize

Longlisted for the German Book Prize

It's the evening before the feast in the village of Fürstenfelde (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 festival of drinking and dancing, eating and burning.

On this night of misdeeds and mischief, they are joined by a dead ferryman, a hapless bellringer, two robbers in football shirts and a vixen on the hunt as the fantastic, the menacing, and the inexplicable collide in the most surprising ways.