WHAT CONCERNS US
BY LAURA VOGT
TRANSLATED BY CAROLINE WAIGHT
This translation has received the support of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.
Rahel and Fenna grew up in an all-female household with their mother and her female partner. Now Rahel strives to reproduce the traditional family unit but she is haunted by an unsettling pregnancy, postnatal depression and compulsive breastfeeding, while having mixed feelings about her singing career. Meanwhile, Fenna wonders whether she consented to the intercourse with Luc which left her pregnant. What Concerns Us is a punchy contemporary read that scrutinises gender roles within our society, examining what it means to be a mother and the nature of femininity, as well as how to remain independent in a variety of different types of relationship.
'A beautiful examination of female interiority. Vogt is not afraid to ask difficult questions. In what ways does motherhood bring us to our limits? What are the consequences of believing a child doesn’t need a father?'
Elizabeth McNeill, Chicago Review of Books
Laura Vogt (Teufen, 1989) studied Creative Writing at the Swiss Literature Institute in Biel and Cultural Studies at the University of Luzern. Her first novel So einfach war es zu gehen came out in 2016. She is also the author of numerous short stories and articles as well as lyrical and dramatic texts. What Concerns Us is her second novel, which she started writing just two months after having her first child. In her work, Laura is particularly interested in exploring the complexity of relationships, maternity, as well as inquiring into the many forms that womanhood can take. She is currently working on her third book. Laura lives in the canton of St. Gallen.
Caroline Waight is an award-winning literary translator working from Danish, German and Norwegian. She translates both fiction and non-fiction, with recent publications including The Lobster's Shell by Caroline Albertine Minor (Granta, 2022), Island by Siri Ranva Hjelm Jacobsen (Pushkin Press, 2021) and The Chief Witness by Sayragul Sauytbay & Alexandra Cavelius (Scribe, 2021). She is based near London.
About What Concerns Us, Caroline says: 'It is the characters in Laura Vogt’s incisive novel that really appeal to me as a translator. The three women are perceptively and utterly unsentimentally drawn, each with their own type of language: finding a way to bring that alive in English has been an endlessly fascinating challenge'.