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Jagannath: Stories Paperback – June 27, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 134 pages
  • Publisher: Cheeky Frawg Books (June 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0985790407
  • ISBN-13: 978-0985790400
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #767,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Jagannath is a collection of 13 short stories of different lengths, all containing at least a hint of the imaginary, the unreal, and the weird, as allegories of alienation, otherness, and the taboo, but also as archetypal symbols in their own right.

The collection opens with Beatrice, a story about the many forms love can take, but how similar the pain is when that love goes unrequited. It's also a story about birth and the love between parents and children.

In Tidbeck's stories the process of birth and the love between parents and children is often difficult and painful, but always strong and touching, as in the sad Some Letters for Ove Lindström, the beautiful Cloudberry Jam, the darkly opulent Aunts, and the fantastic title story, Jagannath, about a living mothership/hive and its relationship to the offspring that is living inside their mother.

Another theme is the mysterious, the hidden, and the uncanny, arriving in the form of strange creatures or events, as in the stories of Miss Nyberg and I, Herr Cederberg, Who Is Arvid Pekon, and in particular, Pyret. The latter being an imaginary research article and report about a mysterious shapeshifting creature which seems to evolve into something increasingly human over time as it becomes more and more familiar with people and our way of life.

Other stories draw from themes encountered elsewhere in modern speculative literature, such as Rebecka, which is about life, ethics and religion in a world after the Second Coming, and Augusta Prima, which is set in a timeless and dream-like baroque world on the edge of ours.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Some of these stories really clicked with me, while many other elicited only a 'meh'. The best fused Scandinavian folklore with the trials and tribulations of modernity, and evoked a haunting sense of lack-of-place and the need to belong. Most of these involved humans coming to terms with brushes (or relations) with the supernatural--familial connections to faeries (or other beings) and the like. But one of my favorites, Augusta Prima, turned the tables, and described the bizarre and sadistic faery court untouched by the conventional rules of time and space, where a brush with human knowledge (the knowledge of the existence of time) leads to isolation and ostracism. This one has hints of A Midsummer Night's Dream gone horribly awry, mixed with the biblical references to being cast out of the garden, along with a bit of the Lovecraft's perspective from The Call of Cthulu: "The most merciful thing in the world is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents" etc.

Altogether certainly worth a read. Some of these stories will likely stick with you (and those that you find mediocre you'll rapidly forget, so no harm done).
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"Jagannath"--the first English collection from Swedish author Karin Tidbeck--is the most startlingly original and hauntingly beautiful book I've read in the last few years. It's tempting to describe Ms. Tidbeck's ideas and language in (no doubt clichéd) Nordic terms: long winter twilight and crisp clear lines, a no-nonsense modernism and a fey forest folklore. But these stories come from some realm far more strange and haunted.
It's difficult--and probably useless--to assign these stories to any particular genre or style. There are elements of Borges's academic literary fantasies and of García Márquez'a folkloric Magic Realism, of a darkly twisted Lewis Carroll and a wryly modest Kafka. And over all there is a timelessness, originality, and clarity of language that will appeal to readers of fantastic and literary fiction alike. It's the sort of book you will reread (I've been through it twice already) and lend to (or buy for) friends.
The book is getting rave reviews from sites like NPR and Publisher's Weekly and from authors like Ursula K. Le Guin, China Miéville, and Elizabeth Hand. I'm betting it will be in the running for a slew of awards in the coming year.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Reading these stories is like dreaming; the surreality makes sense when you're submerged, but upon waking you find that dream-logic has evaporated and left not much behind.

My biggest problem with this collection is that many of the stories are quite short; too short to really be complete stories. Rather, they are emotional sketches, without enough depth to really engage with them. The net impression is one of unevenness; the collection has some nigh-brilliant moments, with quite a few less satisfying efforts.

The best of this collection, such as the story for which the collection is named, do have an actual story arc, though once again the "nightmare-sense" of them finds me not sure what exactly it is that I've just read, or whether I'd want to read more.

Ironically, I find myself not too upset that the collection itself is short, as I'm not sure how many more of these little sketches I'd want to read.
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This is a stunning collection of short stories from Swedish superstar author Karin Tidbeck, so Amazon asking me to describe the books plot is not very helpful. This collection is my favorite discovery among many recent books. Several of the tales are flavored with folklore and myth and these she puts to good use. Broadly these could be described as "speculative fiction" with some leaning to sci-fi, others to fantasy and some naturalistic or atmospheric. All are at a very high level of literary attainment. All in all, they are the bees' knees!
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