Fleur Jaeggy avec Sweet Days of Discipline: Novel
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, Frederique. 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 over-blown and scarcely portable, it is good to be able to recommend [one that is] miraculously short and beautifully written".