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Karin Tidbeck Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Amatka (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

Sing (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Listen (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Reindeer Mountain (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Karin Tidbeck is a best-selling Swedish author of weird fiction and fantasy novels. She is a resident of Malmo and works as a translator, freelance writer, and a creative writing teacher. Tidbeck became a published author in 2010 when her collection of short stories Vem är Arvid Pekon? was published. Her first book in English, Jagannath was published in 2012. The short story collection received several positive reviews, and Gary K. Wolfe described Tidbeck as one of the most distinguished authors in a nutshell fiction since Margo Lanagan.

Jagannath

Published in 2011, Jagannath is a collection of several short stories written by bestselling Swedish author Karin Tidbeck. All the thirteen short stories are written in English but still maintain the Nordic flavor.

Some of the characters featured in the story include Rak, who is born into what appears as an inside of a being known as Mother. Once she is grown, she is tasked with massaging food through the intestines. While sleeping in a fleshy clove and scraping sustenance from the inside walls, Rak is expected to work there until the day she will die during when she will be massaged through those intestines by her replacements.

Mother wanders through the world searching for food and inside her workers thrives and also starves according to her diet. After a lean period, Rak visits the nursery to get a replacement worker and finds out that there are no more babies. This short story is an interesting one, as the narrative draws to climax, Rak starts all over again as she is birthed into the outside world. The imagery and imagination out of this short story are fascinating.

Then the story of Augusta Prima is an interesting read as well. The story introduces Augusta, a member of a realm that exists out of time. Each single day in this world out of time is full of activities that amuse the courtiers. Nights are full of celebration while the servants are gruesomely treated, and bodies begin to pile up until the day Augusta discovers a trinket on one. She also finds a watch and learns that it is used to measure time- one concept she is never familiar with. Once she is made aware of time and its passage, she is unable to ignore it. She begins measuring her world, and as a consequence, she becomes bound by what she describes as a simple allegory for the modern condition.

These are just but a few of the stories that will grip you from the start to the end. These short stories are uniquely written, entertaining. Unique themes that the author seems to emphasize in these stories are that of mothers and their children. There are links to these stories, but not all of them and most of them have the Scandinavian taste: the settings, landscape, the celebrations, the communications, and how the dishes were served. The author’s imaginary creatures in these stories have some aspects of Swedish mythology, literature and folk tales.

Amatka

Amatka is set in a bizarre future world where the very fabric of reality is regularly at risk of being destroyed. Four colonies make this world, and the inhabitants of these colonies are taught at an early on how to mark objects to ensure that they are rooted in reality. The residents achieve this by observing the space around them and also repeating the names of everything that is in sight, and this allows the objects to retain their function and shape.
The story is focused on a young woman named Brilars Vanja. She was born in the Essre colony but has relocated to another colony known as Amatka to conduct a market research for a company hoping to start a business in Amatka.

She soon discovers that there is something weird going on in this colony and she begins to question the existence of the reality she sees around her. The author, Karin Tidbeck has created a bizarre world in this book. The five colonies were established as a response to some unknown disaster which was inescapable. Few of the remnants of the old world remain such as concrete buildings, but what Vanja sees around her has been created via verbal manipulation. Buildings and several things are marked with their names, for example, “suitcase” “library” “pencil” and they must continually be remarked by saying out loud their names, or they dissolve into slimy goo.

Also, the world itself is a gray place without clouds, sun, sky or stars and each citizen must follow a set of rules. For thirty years, Vanja has spent her life in this world and followed the rules to the latter, however, what she sees in Amatka shocks her to the core, and if there is something more to the sterile world that she knows, she will do something to find out.

Sing

In Sing, we meet Petr, a scientist whose exploration of a mysterious colony named Kiruna sent him to meet the village a segregated member of the community who seduces him with her addictive singing voice. He finds comfort and hospitality in her unusual way of life but soon realizes that a symbiotic relationship can be either a curse or a blessing.

The protagonist in this novel has a physical disability and gets his way around using canes. Unlike in most science fiction tales you have probably read, her disability is not miraculously cured in this story. At the start of the story, the society she lives in let her disability define her and they could barely tolerate her. Throughout the entire narrative, her interactions with a stranger make her see the world in a different perspective and start to believe that the world could be different and so she begins to change.

Sing is an interesting story, and the main character and her love develop so much during this narrative. Her man falls in love with her and accepts her condition, and touches her in a way that she has never experienced before. He gives her the looks and smiles that no one has ever shown her and gets her to accept her condition and makes her believe in herself.

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