WINNER SWISS LITERATURE PRIZE
WINNER PRIX DU PUBLIC DE LA R.T.S.
WINNER PRIX DES LECTRICES EDELWEISS
Translated from the French by Charlotte Mandell
‘It was the month of June, in the year 1976. I was thirteen. It was the start of the summer holidays. It was the year of the drought.’
The Sutters have been farming on the Swiss plateau for generations, but now the household teeters on the brink of ruin. The crops are audibly roasting; the ventilators in the new hen-house are breaking down; even the family sheepdog, Sheriff, has taken to fainting in the unheard-of temperatures.
When a mysterious guest arrives at the farm, she quickly becomes a focus for dreams that have long been suppressed – of freedom, art and sex. With only his injured dove and his comic books for company, thirteen-year-old Auguste observes helplessly as his family and his carefree childhood dissolve in the heat.
A tender, funny, elegiac novel about a lost rural way of life, Year of the Drought is a perfect companion to Robert Seethaler’s A Whole Life. Taking place over one apocalyptic summer, it evokes several worlds – of childhood, of traditional farming, of patriarchy – at the very moment of their destruction.