This short work is packed with violent premonitions, sudden deaths, stabbings, hangings and the language of insanity. There are metaphors drawn from shrouds, altar cloths, coffins, corpses, funeral marches, gallows, guillotines, nooses, cults of the dead and, most affecting of all, stone tablets set in churchyard walls. We are all dying, even as children: as Rilke believed, we carry our deaths within us. Frédérique tells the narrator she has an old woman’s hands; the schoolgirls inhabit “a sort of senile childhood” and they have ‘a mortuary look’

—The New Statesman, Margaret Drabble

Dipped in the blue ink of adolescence, Fleur Jaeggy’s pen is an engraver’s needle depicting roots, twigs, and branches of the tree of madness, growing in the splendid isolation of the small Swiss garden of knowledge into full leaf until it obscures every perspective. Extraordinary prose. Reading time is approximately four hours. Remembering time, as for its authors: the rest of one’s life.—Joseph Brodsky

Available May 1, 1993

Sweet Days of Discipline

Fiction by Fleur Jaeggy

Translated from the Italian by Tim Parks

Set in postwar Switzerland, Fleur Jaeggy’s eerily beautiful novel begins simply and innocently enough: “At fourteen I was a boarder in a school in the Appenzell.” But there is nothing truly simple or innocent here. With the off-handed knowingness of a remorseless young Eve, the narrator describes life as a captive of the school and her designs to win the affections of the apparently perfect new girl, Fréderique. As she broods over her schemes as well as on the nature of control and madness, the novel gathers a suspended, unsettling energy. Now translated into six languages, I beati anni del castigo in its Italian original won the 1990 Premio Bagutta and the 1990 Premio Speciale Rapallo. In Tim Parks’ consummate translation (with its “spare, haunting quality of a prose poem”), Sweet Days of Discipline was selected as one of the London Times Literary Supplement’s Notable Books of 1992: “In a period when novels are generally overblown and scarcely portable, it is good to be able to recommend [one that is] miraculously short and beautifully written.”

Editions: Paperback

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Paperback (published May 1, 1993)

ISBN
9780811212359
Price US
10.95

Fleur Jaeggy

Fleur Jaggy is a translator and novelist.

This short work is packed with violent premonitions, sudden deaths, stabbings, hangings and the language of insanity. There are metaphors drawn from shrouds, altar cloths, coffins, corpses, funeral marches, gallows, guillotines, nooses, cults of the dead and, most affecting of all, stone tablets set in churchyard walls. We are all dying, even as children: as Rilke believed, we carry our deaths within us. Frédérique tells the narrator she has an old woman’s hands; the schoolgirls inhabit “a sort of senile childhood” and they have ‘a mortuary look’

—The New Statesman, Margaret Drabble

This novella is filled with conflicted, often dark, emotion. The tension lies not so much in what happens, as in the sombre frostiness of the prose… A tale—captured so deftly in this translation by Tim Parks—of stark, poetic beauty.

—Joseph Schreiber, Rough Ghosts

This novella is filled with conflicted, often dark, emotion. The tension lies not so much in what happens, as in the sombre frostiness of the prose… A tale—captured so deftly in this translation by Tim Parks—of stark, poetic beauty.

roughghosts

Like all great books, it’s really like nothing else. It’s like itself.

—Gabe Habash, Publishers Weekly

Dipped in the blue ink of adolescence, Fleur Jaeggy’s pen is an engraver’s needle depicting roots, twigs, and branches of the tree of madness, growing in the splendid isolation of the small Swiss garden of knowledge into full leaf until it obscures every perspective. Extraordinary prose. Reading time is approximately four hours. Remembering time, as for its author: the rest of one’s life.

—Joseph Brodsky