Welcome to the world of Karin Tidbeck, where everything is possible and nothing makes too much sense. This collection of unique short stories was so unexpected and satisfying I can do nothing but recommend it.
Karin Tidbeck is the visionary Swedish author of literary sci-fi, speculative fiction, and mind-bending fantasy. Even though Tidbeck claims she was not aware of it, her Swedish nature is very apparent in the stories. The presence of northern folklore was what made these short forms of fiction highly captivating.
Now let’s talk about the stories. Imagine that the world you live in doesn’t exist until you finish those few pages. In order to understand what are characters going through and what is happening to them you cannot compare their reality to your own. For few minutes you have to accept that this is a fiction based on even more fiction and you are just a visitor in their world.
Can a woman have a baby made by simply mixing soil, saliva and a little carrot in a jar for few months? Yes, in this story she can and you are curious about their future together. What if a man falls in love with a flying machine but she doesn’t love him back because she feels enslaved around him? You can only continue reading to find out what happens next.
I am very pleased, because I feel like in fantasy story-writing authors place too many limits of shaping their own fictional reality. They still hold onto what is possible and realistic even when they write about various supernatural subjects. But in Tidbeck’s case it’s the exact opposite and you kind of (but not really) wish she would take a step back. And that’s because reading something based so little on reality is scary and quite uncomfortable, but so damn fascinating.
Hunting stories about trauma, monstrous creatures, fictional folklore tales and cannibalistic ceremonies. Tidbeck often leaves a good part of her tales just up to reader’s imagination. And that makes her work an original form of a horror fiction. Haunting, fairy-tale like, mind-blowing horror fiction.
I wish I was reading only one story a day because when I read more of them they kind of blended together. I believe it would be a better experience to let each tale follow my mind through the day. Also it’s a short book and I hope there’s going to be one day widened edition of author’s stories. I’m sure I would love to read more from her.
5/5 – let this masterpiece mess with your head