“Neverend” by Aleš Šteger – Telling stories about war – Culture

In his dystopia Neverend, Slovenian poet and novelist Alec Tigre explores one of literature’s major themes: war. His novel is poetic, analytical and personal at the same time. In the interview, the author explained why he couldn’t realistically write about something as terrible as war.

Alice Steiger


Open the people box
Close the person’s box

Poet, novelist, essayist and translator Alice Steger (born 1973) is the most famous Slovenian author of his generation. Through his poetic interventions, he challenges patterns of experience and thought and enables new perspectives on the world.

SRF: “Neverend” reads in many places like the mirror of the Ukraine war. But you wrote the novel a few years ago. What was the motive behind it at the time?

Alice Steiger: It started with the Yugoslav wars. In Slovenia itself, the 1991 war ended ten days later. But in the immediate vicinity, it lasted for years, with the worst stories imaginable. These are also intertwined with stories of family and refugees.

So it was my war and at the same time it was not my war. I thought that writers in the affected countries should tell the story first. But even long after the Dayton Peace Accord, I couldn’t write about the war.

Finally, a Serbian daily asked former Yugoslav authors to submit short stories on the topic. I wrote one and then couldn’t stop for two years.

I couldn’t realistically write about something so terrible.

Neverend is not a realistically told novel, but rather a dystopia. What sparked your interest in this model?

The dystopia is a distortion gesture. This also deals with the question of why and in what direction one is distorted and what results from the gap created by this distortion.

audio notation
Literature Club: Two with a Book

More audio and podcasts

I could not realistically have written about something as terrible as war, when there is a prose remembrance of, for example, Primo Levi, Varlam Shalamov or the Slovenian Boris Pahor, who have spent their lives struggling to find a language with which to testify.

But the miserable distortion allowed me to use my imagination and experience. The prerequisite, however, was a very precise means of eavesdropping. This was the only way I could follow my fears, my motives, and my fingerprints as openly as possible.

The plot of “Nevermind”

open box
close the box

The war has been raging on the edges of the European Union for years. The European Union is destroying itself in global trade disputes. And Slovenia slips into civil war during the elections.

Right in the middle is a young Slovenian writer who reflects in her memoirs the fragility of peace and the helplessness in the face of violence.

“Neverend” is a dystopia that slightly distorts reality. This brings war closer as an event that can happen anytime and anywhere.

“Neverend” is very close to reality. However, not much was told. why?

Because I believe that in life, too, many things usually remain open. My point was that conclusions are often impossible. However, it is often said after a crisis situation: “It was just that and it was no different.”

So we design interpretations and then try to believe in them. But we can only do that half of it and get stuck somewhere in between. Perhaps this is a process that never ends – it is a process that never ends.

book reference

open box
close the box

Alice Steiger: “It never ends.” Translated from the Slovenian Matthias Goeritz and Alexandra Natalie Zalznik. Walstein Verlag, 2022.

Her novel is also a book about constantly recurring wars. How can literature drive a wedge into this “never ending”?

This requires a lot of literature. I think their strength lies in the individual. We know who reads and most people don’t

If I could get one utopian thinking, it would be that literature is a transformative thing. She, along with the readers, creates a space where we can really ask ourselves and where we can in a certain way correct our ways of thinking and therefore our lives.

New weekly reading material in the Literary Bulletin

open box
close the box

The Literary Newsletter provides the perfect inspiration for the next book. In addition, a Swiss writer is featured every week. subscribe now.

Leave a Comment