Rebecca Gisler on her novel About Uncle

Rebecca Gisler on her novel About Uncle

February 2024

Rebecca Gisler won the Swiss Prize for Literature 2022 with her debut novel About Uncle, a family drama unlike any other. Rebecca came to Bath and London to discuss About Uncle, published by Peirene Press and translated from French by Jordan Stump. She also talked about her exploration of isolation, dependency and strange dietary habits as well as language and translation in French, German and English.

About Uncle begins with two sentences that fill two pages, creating an entire world. Its subject is an uncle, a solitary man who lives in an ‘involuntary flatshare’ with his nephew and his niece, the narrator. Writing in precise language reminiscent of Kafka’s entomology – although here the ‘monstrous vermin’ is a gargantuan pot-bellied uncle – Rebecca Gisler proves herself an uncanny master of tone in this debut novel, shifting deftly between her audacious narrative and ironic realism without ever becoming repulsive or grotesque. In doing so, she draws a deeply humane portrait of a singular family.

Rebecca Gisler, born in Zurich in 1991, is a graduate of the Swiss Literature Institute and of the Master’s degree in Création littéraire at the University of Paris 8. She writes in German and French and translates her texts from one language into another. She has published poetry and prose in numerous magazines and anthologies. She is the co-organizer of the series Teppich in the House of Literature Zurich.

Read her in interview