The latest addition to my website is Ivan Cankar‘s Hiša Marije Pomočnice (The Ward of Our Lady of Mercy). Cankar is often considered the father of the modern Slovenian novel. This is a very sad story, set entirely in a charity ward for girls in a Viennese hospital. All the girls have some unpleasant disease and most of them will die during the course of the novel. We see all the girls as individuals, Malchie, based on the daughter of Cankar’s landlady in Vienna, Tina who has visions, Lois, the haughty girl from a rich family but whose parents are obnoxious, Katie, the lonely working-class girl whose father is a drunk and whose long-suffering mother dies before she does. The charity ladies are mocked as are some of the parents but Cankar feels a lot of pity for these poor girls, as we do after reading this novel.