In the opening passages of Breźná’s text, the clinical cleanliness of Switzerland and the freedom that it promises is juxtaposed by a feeling of unease that is developed throughout this engaging novel. The text focusses on the experiences of a young girl arriving from Czechoslovakia to Switzerland, and the resistance she experiences as she tries to settle in her new home. Throughout, the text features parallel narratives centred on the narrator’s work as an interpreter between immigrants and Swiss authorities. Marked by a dark humour, Die undankbare Fremde offers a consideration of expectation and reality, of language and narration, and of hopes for a better life.

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