Launch: On the Edge
First Book by Anne-Marie Reuter
‘On the edge’ is a collection of 15 short stories about people who could be your next-door neighbours. Maybe they are a mix of real experiences and fictitious creations - only the author knows.
With a lot of respect, Anne-Marie Reuter introduces her protagonists to the reader. Only fragments of their lives are shown, as if filmed by a camera. The author´s view is a very discrete and calm one. The descriptions are well thought-out, the sentences are short and no word is too much. There is space only for the basic and most important and the same applies for the dialogues. No judgment is made so that the reader is not influenced by any other emotion than their own.
Anne-Marie Reuter leaves enough room for the reader to create his own view of things, or to imagine the story behind the snapshot of the presented story. The style is not mainstream; a fact that I appreciate a lot. It reminds me a little bit of the mute black and white films, which fascinated me a lot as they gave me tremendous possibilities to imagine my own ‘dialogues’.
Interview with the author Anne-Marie Reuter
First of all: Congratulations for ‘On the edge’, this first wonderful book; but also for having established ‘Black Fountain Press’ the first Luxembourgish publishing house for literature in English with three colleagues.
How have you found your way to the English language?
My way to the English language was paved at school. I loved the novels I read in English. I loved the sound of the language, the rhythm, the melody. After my 'bac' I chose to study English literature at the University of London. English became the language I felt most comfortable in.
And your love for books?
I grew up in a house full of books. Reading books was what we all did in my family. Books have always been a wonderful source of enjoyment, inspiration, information. If you like reading you are never bored. A lot of people say they don't have time to read but if you really love reading you will always make time for it. Also, people sometimes think reading is a luxury, an indulgence. They forget that reading also requires an effort. People who never read find it difficult to finish a book because they are not used to making the effort.
This year you have founded, together with three colleagues, ‘Black Fountain press’ the first publishing house in Luxembourg for literature in English. How was the idea born? And how long did it take to develop the project?
With Jeff Thill, Nathalie Jacoby and Laurent Fels, the idea of the publishing house materialised surprisingly fast. The idea came up in March 2016 and now, a bit more than one year later, we have launched ‘Black Fountain Press’ and we have published our first book. What motivated us was the lack of possibilities here in Luxembourg for writers in English. So many people, especially young people, write in English and have difficulties to get their work published. We thought that this situation was unfortunate and we wanted to do something about it. The name 'Black Fountain' is a reference to Su-Mei Tse's wonderful work entitled 'So many spoken words' at MUDAM. We like the discrete reference to a Luxembourgish work of art; and of course the flowing ink and the idea of the fountain pen were the other reasons why we chose that name.
On the Edge is the first book of ‘Black Fountain Press’ and the first book by yourself as an author?
That's right. From a practical point of view, it was actually good that we decided to publish my book first. There were many questions to be solve regarding design and layout. We sometimes made mistakes and had to start over again. The next author will hopefully benefit from our newly acquired skills.
Reading your book, I sometimes felt that the sequences of life could be of real and not fictive protagonists? Am I wrong?
I think every writer aims at portraying characters that make sense on the page, that are alive, plausible, realistic, possibly moving for the reader. And every writer is a human being first who has a life and makes experiences. It is only logical that this life feeds into the stories. My characters have their origin in real life. They go back to people I have met or heard and read about. When I develop them they turn into new different people and in the end they don't bear much resemblance any longer with the person I had in mind in the beginning. Sometimes a couple of people make up one character in a story.
Do you have future book projects as author?
I have a couple of ideas, but I need time to develop them. Right now, it would be too early to talk about them.
What is the most important book for you personally? Do you have more than one?
'The most important book' changes constantly, I find. I don't have 'one most important book', but there are some books that have marked me profoundly. I love Lydia Davis's short stories. Or A.S. Byatt's. Or Raymond Carver’s. I was also deeply affected by Helen Macdonald's ‘H is for Hawk’ or J. E. Williams's ‘Stoner’. At the moment, I am reading Lucia Berlin’s short stories. They’re mind-blowing.
Many thanks to Anne-Marie Reuter for the interview and all the information.
Biography of Anne-Marie Reuter
From an early age on Anne-Marie Reuter was fascinated by books, writing and literature in general. After her ‘bac’ she moved to London to study English and French literature. While she would have loved to stay in the UK, she could not afford the living there on the salary she gained teaching French evening classes at the UCL Language Centre.
Back in Luxembourg, she became an English teacher, but felt after 10 years that it was time for another challenge. She made her PhD in English and Comparative Literature at Warwick before teaching English again in Luxembourg.
Her love for literature and the English language remains vivid, and Anne-Marie Reuter has now published her first book called ‘On the Edge’ a selection of short stories in English, published at ‘Black Fountain Press’ the first publishing house in Luxembourg for literature in English and founded by Anne-Marie and three colleagues of hers.
Win the book "on the Edge" on our Facebook page - Until Monday, August 28th! Good luck!