Today we have our first story in translation: “Two Ways of Leaving” by Alois Hotschnig (translated from the Austrian German by Tess Lewis). You can read the story here at Untitled Books; you’ll also find it in Hotschnig’s Peirene Press collection Maybe This Time.
First, I’ll link to some reviews of Maybe This Time (not of all of which touch on this particular story): 1streading; Chasing Bawa; Olivia Heal; Andrew Blackman; Beauty Is a Sleeping Cat; The Worm Hole; The Arts Fuse. I’ll also point out this interview with the translator, Tess Lewis, at Love German Books.
Now, something different. I’m going to post some questions as ‘conversation starters’; feel free to answer them or not (I want them to act as jumping-off points, not to strictly define the discussion), or ask questions of your own. Here we go:
There’s no small amount of ambiguity in “Two Ways of Leaving”, so I’d be interested to know how you interpret the relationship between the ‘he’ and ‘she’ of the story.
My abiding thought when I finished Maybe This Time was that Hotschnig’s protagonists were caught up in other people’s stories. Would you agree with that in relation to “Two Ways of Leaving”?
Though it relates to a different piece in Maybe This Time, I was struck by 1streading‘s comment that “Hotschnig is playing with the use of the pronoun ‘he’ as a ‘character’”. What does the author do with the pronoun ‘he’ in this story?
Next time: On 30 Sept, we’ll be talking about the story “Drifting House” by Krys Lee.
For now, though, it’s over to you. What did you make of “Two Ways of Leaving”?