Set in fictional Stitchings, In Red is a dreamy, poetic narrative that slides and circles its way throughout the town as if it were an inescapable maze. It’s like Hotel California – people drop dead in the blink of an eye, but the only way to escape if by the chance hot air balloon ride.
People marry, go to war, build and lose empires, give birth, die. There are no main characters besides the town itself, which looms in the background with a malevolent presence.
Because of the shifting focus, you sometimes lose track of who you’re with, but you never forget where you are.
Want more like this? Try:
- Visitation, Jenny Erpenbeck. Like In Red, this is a novella focusing on a town, this time in East Germany. Similar feel, but slightly more linear. (my review)
- Little Infamies, Panos Karnezis. Interelated stories set in a Greek town. Often bordering on bleak.
- The North of God, Steve Stern. Dark novella with some magical sprinklings. (my review)