Wallstein Verlag

Maja Haderlap

Angels of Oblivion


288 pages, 12 x 20 cm
ISBN: 978-3-8353-0953-1 (Juli 2011)


German Version

12th edition in preparation - over 90,000 copies sold

Ingeborg-Bachmann Prize 2011
Book prize awarded by the Stiftung Ravensburger Verlag
PEN Translation Prize 2017 for English translation by Tess Lewis
Longlist for Best Translated Book Award Fiction 2017

A great debut novel, which tells of a life at the heart of Europe; with powerful poetry; stories that move us to the core.

Maja Haderlap succeeds at something which, nowadays, would generally be considered impossible - she tells the story of a young girl and a family, and at the same time relates the story of a nation. This story goes back to the memories of a childhood in the mountains at Kärnten. In a highly sensuous way, the author recalls the scents of summer, her grandmother’s cooking, her parents’ fights and the idiosyncrasies of the neighbours. It tells of a girl growing up and her attempts to understand her family and the people around her.
Although the war is over, it is still omnipresent in the minds of the Slovenian minority to which the family belongs. One does not go into the woods »to fell trees, to hunt or to collect mushrooms«, but to hide, to flee, to join the partisans and put up resistance. Those who do not manage to escape are faced with arrest, death, concentration camps. The memories of this are as much a part of people’s lives here as is God.
Little by little, the girl learns to piece together the pieces and remains of the past into a coherent picture and turn it into something which is not simply taken for granted. Finally, as a (critical) young woman, she succeeds in finding the words to express it. Insistently, poetically, with an enchanting directness.

»Maja Haderlap has written a powerful story ... the grandmother like no other, the poor, bitter father like no other, the dead like none before them, a child like no other.«
Peter Handke

The Authoress
Maja Haderlap, born in Eisenkappel/Zelezna Kapla (Austria), studied theatre studies and German at the University of Vienna. From 1992 to 2007 she was Head of Dramaturgy at the Municipal Theatre of Klagenfurt and holds annual classes at the Institute for Applied Cultural Sciences at the Alpen Adria University in Klagenfurt. Since 2008 she has lived and worked as a freelance author in Klagenfurt. She has published volumes of poetry and essays in Slovenian and German, and translations from Slovenian. »Angels of Oblivion« is her first novel.


»In a cool and analytical way, yet with great attention to detail, she tells of a community that is proud of its individuality and the tragedies of its past - and at the same time embittered at its lot of being excluded ... Haderlap wrote the book »Angels of Oblivion« in German, in a clear and yet poetic tone in which time is a »solid glacier« under which everything is crushed, everything the young heroine finds wonderful and unshakeable.«
Wolfgang Höbel, Der Spiegel

»The storyteller Maja Haderlap has commendably succeeded in putting all the sentences that evoke those deep traces of the past together into one great story«
Georg Pichler, Die Presse

»With an accurate beauty, precisely and poetically, Maja Haderlap tells of the existence, often estranged, of the Slovenian minority in Kärnten. The novel is a touching family saga, and at the same time the story of her people in the 20th century.«
Rainer Kasselt, Sächsische Zeitung

»The novel brings to life a region that is frequently overlooked and forgotten, with an enormous attention to detail, intensity and colour. From the perspective of an alert, imaginative and observant young girl, it tells the tale of a highly complex, poetic, difficult, bitter and loving farming family as it passes through unimagined transitions, shaken up by the silent but violent phases of modernization.«
Sigrid Löffler, Radio Bremen

»Wonderfully narrated, fascinating and full of warmth for the individual characters. Again, barbaric acts are described in a region I previously knew nothing about. I have seldom been so much in agreement with a winner of the Ingrid Bachmann Prize.«
Anne Schulze, Literary Circle Wolfsburg

»This literary memorial to (Kärnten) Slovenia in the 20th century is at the same time poetic, intense and touching«
Rotraut Schöberl, Leporello – the bookshop at Stephansplatz, Vienna
Rights soldArabic: Dar Al-Muna
Czech: HAVRAN s.r.o. Publishing House
English: Archipelago Books
French: Éditions Métailié
Italian: Keller Editore
Slovenian: Litera Verlag
nach oben