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Tainaron: Mail from Another City Hardcover – July 11, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Handsomely embellished with Finnish State Prize winner Inari Krohn's provocative etchings and xylographies, this brief, lyrical epistolary meditation on life, love and death, nominated for the prestigious Finlandia Prize, is the first of modern fabulist Krohn's works published in the U.S. The "woman" whose 30 letters make up the novel has recently come on a white ship to Tainaron, an insect-city within a volcanic cone, but she's forgotten why. The "lover" she addresses over the sea never replies, and she eventually abandons hope of answers, instead ranging the city with arthropodic "friend" Longhorn, who provides unsettling insights into the cycle of birth, change and absorption into new life. As summer fades to autumn and implacable winter nears, the narrator falls half in love with sleep and its easeful twin, death. The spiral-nautilus emblem of Tainaron's flag reminds its letter-writing guest, smitten by the realization of mortality, of the sweet anguish in the unavoidable alliance between birth and death, a recollection of "the dead [and] the gods." The author suggests no line divides language and music; her elegiac linguistic melodies enthrall the mind's ear, evoking as well bittersweet intimations of immortality more lovely, dangerous and disturbing than any realistic voice might utter.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Prime Books (July 11, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1930997825
  • ISBN-13: 978-1930997820
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,126,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Melartin on May 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm enchanted. The book is a series of letters, sent overseas from someone who now lives in Tainaron, a city of insects. The writing is lyrical and deep, metaphysical, philosophical, poetic. Part of the allure stems from being set in an insect world. The novel has illustrations as well, interspersed with the letters, that add another dimension to this magical work.

From the first letter:

"Much happens in the meadow; it is a stage for fervent activity and a theatre of

war. But everything serves just one purpose: immortality. The insects who are

pursuing their own interests there do not know that they are at the same time

fulfilling the flowers' hidden desires, any more than the flowers understand

that to the insects, whom they consider their slaves, they are life and

livelihood. Thus the selfishness of each individual works, in the meadow, for

the happiness of all."

From the thirteenth letter:

"The rapist panted in my pursuit, reducing the distance between us with

horrifying speed. Then I remembered that what I was seeing was a dream and that

I therefore had an opportunity: with all my strength, I forced my feet to leave

the ground, and as the murderer's filthy paw fumbled for my ankle, it slipped

beyond his grasp and past the highest branches.

My unbelief had saved me, but

the poor creature who believes that everything is true is the victim of his

dreams."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mongoliandeathworm on February 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Maybe I especially liked it because I'm into bugs but I thought this book was absolutely beautiful. It was unlike any other book I have read. It is a contemplative account written in a series of letters, of an unnamed person living abroad in a city of insects. In the letters she writes about various inhabitants of the city, cultural differences, and often gives some limited information on her own situation. While the setting seems more akin to fantasy, it often feels like more like a travel story and reminds me a lot of the times I've spent abroad. It is a short read but I've already read it at least twice.

I would definitely recommend it to readers who like travel stories (real or fictional) but not to readers who don't like stories that don't answer all of the questions they pose. Tainaron is definitely an open ended story but in that way, I think it feels more real and complete than a story that elaborates everything and works with the themes of transformation and the city.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Narri on December 20, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Tainaron is so good, I recommend it to everyone. All that I've read from Krohn is very interesting and original. I've read her books only in Finnish, though, not in English, but I'm sure the English version is amazing, too. This book really takes you into its own reality like no other. Krohn's other books are very interesting, too - Krohn has a very original style to write, there's not many like her in the world. The closest would probably be Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who writes magical realism, or Jeff VanderMeer, who writes scifi and fantasia.
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By Michaela on March 15, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An Unknown and unfamiliar world awaits. The city of Tainaron, unknowable and ever changing, is seen through the eyes of a human who has moved there for unknown reasons. She lives among the cties resident giant insects as the insects live lives vastly different to human beings. Mysterious and beautiful Tainaron is a small book with big impact. Lyrical, literary and strange without being inaccessible.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Mccarty on September 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An extraordinary book...beautifully written...the book transported me and awakened my imagination. The author is a major literary figure in Finland, her native country, but little know -- unfortunately -- in the UK,CA or the USA.
Robert
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