Les Figues is pleased to announce the publication of A Happy Man and Other Stories or/oder Der Glückliche und andere Erzählungen. The book draws together nine short stories by German author Axel Thormählen. Jochen, the title story’s hero, is a man content in the face of others’ discontent and their foolish fear of mortality. Like Jochen, many of Thormählen’s characters live within deceptively simple, but impossibly profound movements, accepting the happy limits of life. Judith Freeman asks in her introduction, “though we are drained, hunted to death, and out of breath, is [Jochen] not still, are we not all, happy men?” Thormählen’s great achievement is that his stories move as much toward the answer as the question, but in the end leave both untouched and unrelenting.
Praise for A Happy Man
“A delightful, unusual, highly individual book, with a gentle wisdom, sometimes disturbing or amusing or both, but always very distinctive. I enjoyed it, story by story, greatly, but the total atmosphere exceeds the sum of its parts.” – Claude Rawson, author of God, Gulliver and Genocide and editor of The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism, IV
“The unique quality of Axel Thormählen's stories lies in their integrity of subject, action, and expression. They refuse to be dissected or peeled like an onion. Each is a jewel in one's hand, a luminous presence to be acknowledged whole.”
– Thomas Vargish, author of Inside Modernism: Relativity Theory, Cubism, Narrative