May we also recommend Rock Crystal?
Perhaps the heat is getting to us more than we realized.
Notes from NYRB Classics
Over at our Goodreads book club we are discussing the season-appropriate Rock Crystal by Adalbert Stifter, translated from the German by Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Mayer. The prose, unsurprisingly with the level of translators, is very high. Here’s an example, that introduces the little mountainous town that houses the brother and sister protagonists:
Among the high mountains of our country there is a little village with a small but needle-fine church-spire. Conspicuous above the green of abundant fruit-trees, this spire—because the slates are painted vermillion—can be seen far and wide against the faint blue of the mountains. The hamlet nestles in the very center of a fairly wide valley that is an almost perfect ellipse. Beside the ward church, a school-house, and a parish-house, there are a few stately homes around the square with four linden-trees and a stone cross in the center. These are not simple farmhouses, but a haven of handicrafts indispensable to humanity, providing the mountain people with essential commodities. In the valley and scattered along the mountain-sides are many little huts of a sort common to such regions—whose inhabitants belong to the village, use its church and school, and support its craftsmen by buying their wares. Even more distant huts are now also part of the village, but, hidden away in the mountains, cannot be seen from the valley; the people rarely come down among their fellow-parishioners. Often, indeed, they are obliged to keep their dead with them over the winter till they can bring them to the valley for burial after the snow has melted. The great man of the village is the priest. The villagers regard him with veneration and he, after a protracted stay in the valley, usually becomes used to isolation, stays on not unwillingly, and then just goes on living there. At least since time immemorial no priest in the village has ever craved a change, none has been unworthy of his calling.