But again one wonders, given all the signs of seriousness of purpose, if it was necessary to call this collection the Best European Fiction? Of the 30-plus names included in this inaugural volume, I recognize five or sixOrnela Vorpsi, Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Victor Pelevin, Julián Ríos, Deborah Levy, Alasdair Gray, Penny Simpsonso I wouldn’t know nor do I care if the selected writers/writings are the best. But I suppose one should take Zadie Smith’s view (she has written this tome’s preface):
For me this anthology and the series that is to follow represent a personal enrichment. Books-wise, I was educated in a largely Anglo-American library and it is sometimes dull to stare at the same four walls all day. I was always refreshed to discover those windows that open out on to Kafka, Camus, Duras Genet, Colette, Bely as I imagine some equivalent Russian schoolgirl marveled at the vista through the Muriel Spark window or the John Updike. There should be more of that sort of thingso we are always sayingand now here are Alexsandar Hemon and Dalkey Archive Press to encourage it.