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Old 31.08.2015, 23:54
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Books with a clear Swiss related content...

Any books you've read with a specific 'Swiss' content you'd recommend for those wanting to understand the country better, fiction or non-fiction?

I'll start with 'La Symphonie Pastoral' by André Gide- a classic written in 1919- about a Vicar who adopts a little blind girl fround by her dead grandmother - in the coldest valley of Switzerland not far from me, Little Siberia = La Vallée de la Brévine- famous for its peat bogs and extreme cold weather (record minus 42.8C). Made into a brilliant film in 1946 that won the Palme d'Or in Cannes- with Michèle Morgan. You can still visit the wonderful little Church- in the centre of the village. In French, translated in 100s of languages.
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Old 01.09.2015, 00:16
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Re: Books with a clear Swiss related content...



I read this in one sitting through the turn-of-the-millennium night in a timber-framed house in Wales.

Never again! ... next time I'll read it in the daylight.
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Old 01.09.2015, 00:33
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Re: Books with a clear Swiss related content...

Perhaps a short idea of what it is about? Thanks.
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Old 01.09.2015, 00:53
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Re: Books with a clear Swiss related content...

It's about a black spider.
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Old 01.09.2015, 04:59
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Re: Books with a clear Swiss related content...

Wouldn't almost anything written by André Gide be Swiss-related?
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Old 01.09.2015, 08:15
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Re: Books with a clear Swiss related content...

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Wouldn't almost anything written by André Gide be Swiss-related?
Brain fade...

I meant Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz!
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Old 01.09.2015, 08:24
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Re: Books with a clear Swiss related content...

This one:


(although I've never actually read it)
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Old 01.09.2015, 09:24
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Re: Books with a clear Swiss related content...

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'La Symphonie Pastoral' by André Gide.
André Gide, the bane of my teenage existence.

My middle school French teacher (Mademoiselle was stark raving bonkers, as evidenced by her forcing us to stand at the start of each class and sing 'L'amour est un oiseau rebelle', not to mention demanding that we bake Bûche de Noël year round) had a thing for Gide. She was determined that we, too, should worship at his alter, despite our very limited command of the language. Yet even in her enthusiasm she somehow she managed to pound every one of his novels, 'La Symphonie Pastoral' included, into the driest of dry dust.

(I think I even missed the Swiss connection back then...)

It wasn't until decades later that I picked the book up again, and enjoyed it. Unfortunately I had to read it in the English translation this time, as by then my schoolgirl French had long been consigned to the dustbin of history.

---

Two recommendations:

Arno Camenisch's 'The Alp'

This is part of a trilogy, the two other books being 'Behind The Station' and 'Last Last Orders'.

http://www.dalkeyarchive.com/product...rature-series/

I confess that I, again, read it in English translation. (German is for work, English is for pleasure.)

And a lighthearted Swiss novel that many of us 'strangers in a strange land' will relate to, ‘A Visit From Voltaire', by Dinah Lee Küng:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/books/dp/187...+from+voltaire
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Old 01.09.2015, 09:31
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Re: Books with a clear Swiss related content...

The Xenophobe’s guide to the Swiss:




Here
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Old 01.09.2015, 09:40
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Re: Books with a clear Swiss related content...

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This one:
Another Diccon Bewes: 'Slow Train To Switzerland'.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Slow-Train-S...to+switzerland

Following a diary written by a Victorian lady on Thomas Cook's first guided tour of Switzerland, Bewes takes the same route 150 years later.
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Old 01.09.2015, 09:44
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Re: Books with a clear Swiss related content...

Hotel du Lac.

A British romantic novelist is 'exiled' to Switzerland following at bit of 'scandalous' behaviour. It's set in the Hotel du Lac in Vevey ( I think) on Lac Leman. Through her observations of fellow hotel guests she makes some realisations about herself, her life and her future. You'll have to read it yourself to get the whole story.
It's a bit slow to start of with but turns into an enjoyable read.
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Last edited by Belgianmum; 01.09.2015 at 13:21. Reason: Added info
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Old 01.09.2015, 09:54
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Re: Books with a clear Swiss related content...

Heidi.

Tom
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Old 01.09.2015, 09:56
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Re: Books with a clear Swiss related content...

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Heidi.

Tom
Lol. That was my first thought when I saw the thread title.
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Old 01.09.2015, 10:17
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Re: Books with a clear Swiss related content...

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This one:


(although I've never actually read it)
It's very good - a light read and funny whilst being insightful. Many of my Swiss colleagues / friends enjoyed the snippets they read, so much so that I bought 5 extra copies when I was last in London.
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Old 01.09.2015, 10:54
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Re: Books with a clear Swiss related content...

Der Schweizerische Robinson, by Johann David Wyss.
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Old 01.09.2015, 11:01
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Re: Books with a clear Swiss related content...

Quote:


I read this in one sitting through the turn-of-the-millennium night in a timber-framed house in Wales.

Never again! ... next time I'll read it in the daylight.
claustrophobic village life somewhere in bernese valley that still rings true today. very realistic, apart from the spiders.
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Old 01.09.2015, 11:05
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Re: Books with a clear Swiss related content...

Quote:


I read this in one sitting through the turn-of-the-millennium night in a timber-framed house in Wales.

Never again! ... next time I'll read it in the daylight.
Have you read the sequel?

Die Weisse Spinne by Harrer
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Old 01.09.2015, 11:17
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Re: Books with a clear Swiss related content...

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Brain fade...

I meant Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz!
Yes indeed- especially relevant for anyone living in the Valais- as he describes the lives of peasants totally isolated in the mountains for months on end, and the superstitions of the day. I love 'La grande peur dans la montagne' about the Val d'Hérens and how a group of sheperds have to stay on the mountain and be isolated for months due to 'foot and mouth' in the cattle- and how they believe they are cursed.

It would be really nice if any suggestions were followed by a commentary which is more than a direct translation of the title- isn't a Schwarze Spinne also an expression for depression in German?

Hôtel du Lac- which Lake- and what is it about BM?
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Old 01.09.2015, 12:03
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Re: Books with a clear Swiss related content...

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Yes indeed- especially relevant for anyone living in the Valais- as he describes the lives of peasants totally isolated in the mountains for months on end, and the superstitions of the day. I love 'La grande peur dans la montagne' about the Val d'Hérens and how a group of sheperds have to stay on the mountain and be isolated for months due to 'foot and mouth' in the cattle- and how they believe they are cursed.
Quote:
Yes indeed- especially relevant for anyone living in the Valais- as he describes the lives of peasants totally isolated in the mountains for months on end, and the superstitions of the day. I love 'La grande peur dans la montagne' about the Val d'Hérens and how a group of sheperds have to stay on the mountain and be isolated for months due to 'foot and mouth' in the cattle- and how they believe they are cursed.

It would be really nice if any suggestions were followed by a commentary which is more than a direct translation of the title- isn't a Schwarze Spinne also an expression for depression in German?
Quote:
Yes indeed- especially relevant for anyone living in the Valais- as he describes the lives of peasants totally isolated in the mountains for months on end, and the superstitions of the day. I love 'La grande peur dans la montagne' about the Val d'Hérens and how a group of sheperds have to stay on the mountain and be isolated for months due to 'foot and mouth' in the cattle- and how they believe they are cursed.

It would be really nice if any suggestions were followed by a commentary which is more than a direct translation of the title- isn't a Schwarze Spinne also an expression for depression in German?

Hôtel du Lac- which Lake- and what is it about BM?
Did you know there is an edit function?
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Old 01.09.2015, 12:13
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Re: Books with a clear Swiss related content...

The Magic Mountain (Thomas Mann)


"Set in a tuberculosis sanatorium during the years immediately prior to the Great War, this book is many things: a modernist classic, a traditional bildungsroman, a comedy of manners, an allegory of pre-war bourgeois Europe, and – perhaps most importantly this time of year – the ideal book to keep you company on the long winter nights, when whichever flu bug is doing the rounds has gained the upper hand and forced you into a sneezing retreat to your sickbed."

http://www.theguardian.com/books/201...magic-mountain

Might sound grim but it is beautifully written and offers lots of food for thought.
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