Brutt, or The Sighing Gardens is the hallucinatory tale of an obsessive writer's love affair late in life as told through the daily journal entries of the writer - a montage of relentless observation interspersed with found materials from newspaper articles, literature, and private correspondence. The process of aging and the process of writing are two persistent and carefully intertwined themes, though it is apparent that plot and theme are subordinate to the linguistic experiments that Friederike Mayrocker performs as she explores them. Mayrocker is known for crossing the boundaries of literary forms and in her prose work she creates a hypnotic, slurred narrative stream that is formally seamless while simultaneously overstepping all the bounds of grammar and style. She is always exploring the experimental potential of language, seeking a re-ordering of the world through a re-ordering of words. Her multilayered texts are reminiscent of the traditions of Surrealism and Dadaism and display influences from the works of Beckett, Holderlin, Freud, and Barthes. Yet, much of Mayrocker's writing simply has no corollary and the experience of reading Roslyn Theobald's brilliant translation grants the English-speaking audience an unforgettable encounter with this completely original work.
Friederike Mayrocker (1924-) is the author of more than fifty books of poetry and prose as well as radio plays and children's books. Other English editions of her work include Night Train (Ariadne Press, 1992), Heiligenanstalt (Burning Deck, 1994), With Each Clouded Peak (Sun & Moon Press, 1998), and Peck Me Up, My Wing (Smoke-proof Press, 2000), and Raving Language: Selected Poems 1946-2005 (Carcanet, 2007). She has been honored with many awards including the America Award (1997), George Buchner Prize (2001), Karl Sczuka Radio Play Prize (2001), and Premio Internazionale (2003). Roslyn Theobald is also the translator of Barbara Konig's The Beneficiary (1997) and Our House (1998), and Botho Strauss's The Young Man (1995), Couples, Passerby (1996), and Living Glimmering Lying (1999), all available from Northwestern University Press.