When the Time Comes by Josef Winkler

When the Time Comes

Josef Winkler

This book by prize winning Austrian author Josef Winkler is not so much an novel as a treatise on death. In eloquent and moving language, he describes the mostly violent and frequently self inflicted deaths of the inhabitants of a Carinthian village. Winkler is not well known in the UK. His major themes are suicide, homosexuality and the corrosive influence of Catholicism and Nazism in Austrian country life. A compulsive and disturbing read.

Extract

In the clay vessel where the putrid smelling bone stock was rendered from the bones of the slaughtered animals, to be painted on the horses with a crow's feather in the summer heat around the eyes and nostrils and on the belly to protect them from the pricking and blood-sucking horseflies and mosquitoes, lies the skeleton of the hanged August Rosenfelder over the skeleton of his wife Paula, who took her life up in the attic. A thick black braid covered her right eye and the tip of her tongue, which stuck out from between her lips.

Parallels
  • Best European Fiction 2011 by Editor
  • Skylark Farm by Antonia Arslan
  • Ghosts by Cesar Aira