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English sample translation, German sample translation
family, family relationships, taboos, family secrets, violence, determinism, 20th century
by Aleš Čar
On Tolerability is a novel of intricate structure that portrays one family’s extensive saga, following four generations through a period of 100 years while the family is scattered throughout Europe. The figure in the foreground is Gramps, who has served in four different armies and uniforms, under four different flags, and once the atrocities of war come to an end, anticipates a peaceful life. But this is only the beginning of a whole array of problems on the home front, challenges and tribulations brought on by love. Incest, sadism and masochism, adultery and attempted murder within the family, soldiers and smugglers, bloody battles and political intrigue, European aristocracy and SS officers at large, cruel mothers and humiliated fathers, drugs, alcohol and illegitimate children are all part of this novel’s complex storyline.
Intertwined with the story of Gramps are the stories of his five daughters. Gramps’ first daughter proves that love can build you a house, but the “golden cage” that was supposed to provide a roof over the heads of several generations soon starts turning into a “hellish trap”. Suddenly the final goal is no longer happiness, which always turns out to be an illusion, but rather mere tolerability, so plain and so human in every respect.
Shortlisted for the Kresnik Award for best novel of the year 2012
A fearless, monumental work by Aleš Čar.
While Čar has said that he had worked on the novel for ages, writing slowly and with great pleasure, his readers can only expect the latter: to read the novel with pleasure, but in a single sitting!
Čar is able to take any tiny event and weave it into a fabric that despite being entirely locally specific manages to clearly relate the essence of our crazed world of wars and other violence.