Saturday, May 18, 2013

Jagannath by Karin Tidbeck

Swedish author Karin Tidbeck translated her own work in Jagannath, her first English language collection of short stories. They fall into the broad category of speculative fiction, and often include elements of nordic folklore. The stories are unsettling, yet at the same time gentle. They have a mysterious quality, seemingly pulled out of dreams.

In some of the stories, a parent or relative is of the faerie realm. In Brita's Holiday Village, uncanny things happen during the off-season. In both Cloudberry Jam and Miss Nyberg and I, a sort of child or creature is grown from plant materials. A man falls in love with a zeppelin in Beatrice; this one reminded me of one of Kurt Vonnegut's stories, Jenny, about a man's relationship with a refrigerator.

Tidbeck's stories are eerie marvels, as invigoraing as a brisk morning with the scent of pine in the air.

Readalikes: Black Juice and Red Spikes (Margo Lanagan); Vampires in the Lemon Grove (Karen Russell); Pretty Monsters (Kelly Link).

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