A Short History of Gradually Disappearing
Eine kurze Chronik des allmählichen Verschwindens

Kalnay - cover
Verlag Klaus Wagenbach
January 2017 / 189pp

This book is outside of the five-year window for guaranteed assistance with English language translation. We suggest getting in touch with the relevant funding body for an informal conversation about the possibility of support. Please refer to to our  recommendations page for books that are currently covered by our funding guarantee.


Juliana Kálnay tells the story of an apartment building where nothing is as it should be.

There is Lina, whose husband Don undergoes a radical transformation – into a tree. The apartment on the fourth floor seems to have swallowed a family whole. Little Eli eats stones; if he’s not fed in time he gnaws through walls. Maia often plays hide-and-seek, loves to dig holes in the earth with her shovel-like hands, and one day mysteriously disappears. Rita was born in the house on the day her parents moved in and has lived there the longest. When she falls ill, it is almost as if the end is inevitable.

Kálnay’s remarkable debut novel is steeped in magical realism, folk tales and surreal elements. Transformations and disappearances feature heavily. It is clear from the start that these tales rely heavily on memories and are not always reliable: some story threads crystallise out of a jumble of voices, while others remain unresolved. As a result, the whole novel is steeped in melancholy, mystery and wistfulness. Kálnay’s is a striking new voice and the short, haunting chapters of her debut are hard to forget.

rights information

Verlag Klaus Wagenbach GmbH (Alemania)

Contacto: Annette Wassermann

Tel: +49 30 23515141



translation assistance

Applications should be made to the Goethe-Institut.

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