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Leena Krohn: Collected Fiction

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A celebration of a legendary Finnish author, with several novels, stories, and appreciations. For readers of Ursula K. Le Guin, Milan Kundera, Virginia Woolf, Tove Jansson, and Italo Calvino. Over 800 pages covering Leena Krohn's entire career. “One of the most important books published in the U.S. this year. [Leena Krohn’s Collected Fiction] is as important a publishing A celebration of a legendary Finnish author, with several novels, stories, and appreciations. For readers of Ursula K. Le Guin, Milan Kundera, Virginia Woolf, Tove Jansson, and Italo Calvino. Over 800 pages covering Leena Krohn's entire career. “One of the most important books published in the U.S. this year. [Leena Krohn’s Collected Fiction] is as important a publishing event in its own way as New Directions’ release... of Clarice Lispector’s Complete Stories.” - The Mumpsimus “An extraordinary writer who deserves to be better known to readers in English—which, thanks to this excellent collection, is now possible. Reminiscent of Calvino, Borges, and Lem.” - STARRED REVIEW, Kirkus Translations by: Eva Buckwald, Bethany Fox, Hildi Hawkins, Anselm Hollo, Vivii Hyvönen, Leena Likitalo, Herbert Lomas, J. Robert Tupasela, and Anna Volmari. Nonfiction by Minna Jerrman, Desirina Boskovich, Matthew Cheney. From cities of giant insects to a mysterious woman claiming to be the female Don Quixote, Leena Krohn’s fiction has fascinated and intrigued readers for over forty years. Within these covers you will discover a pelican that can talk and a city of gold. You will find yourself exploring a future of intelligence both artificial and biotech, along with a mysterious plant that induces strange visions. Krohn writes eloquently, passionately, about the nature of reality, the nature of Nature, and what it means to be human. One of Finland’s most iconic writers, translated into many languages, and winner of the prestigious Finlandia Prize, Krohn has had an incredibly distinguished career. Collected Fiction provides readers with a rich, thick omnibus of the best of her work. This collection includes several previously unpublished English translations, foremost among them the novels Pereat Mundus and The Pelican's New Clothes. Other novels included are: Tainaron, Dona Quixote, Ophir City of Gold, and Datura.


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A celebration of a legendary Finnish author, with several novels, stories, and appreciations. For readers of Ursula K. Le Guin, Milan Kundera, Virginia Woolf, Tove Jansson, and Italo Calvino. Over 800 pages covering Leena Krohn's entire career. “One of the most important books published in the U.S. this year. [Leena Krohn’s Collected Fiction] is as important a publishing A celebration of a legendary Finnish author, with several novels, stories, and appreciations. For readers of Ursula K. Le Guin, Milan Kundera, Virginia Woolf, Tove Jansson, and Italo Calvino. Over 800 pages covering Leena Krohn's entire career. “One of the most important books published in the U.S. this year. [Leena Krohn’s Collected Fiction] is as important a publishing event in its own way as New Directions’ release... of Clarice Lispector’s Complete Stories.” - The Mumpsimus “An extraordinary writer who deserves to be better known to readers in English—which, thanks to this excellent collection, is now possible. Reminiscent of Calvino, Borges, and Lem.” - STARRED REVIEW, Kirkus Translations by: Eva Buckwald, Bethany Fox, Hildi Hawkins, Anselm Hollo, Vivii Hyvönen, Leena Likitalo, Herbert Lomas, J. Robert Tupasela, and Anna Volmari. Nonfiction by Minna Jerrman, Desirina Boskovich, Matthew Cheney. From cities of giant insects to a mysterious woman claiming to be the female Don Quixote, Leena Krohn’s fiction has fascinated and intrigued readers for over forty years. Within these covers you will discover a pelican that can talk and a city of gold. You will find yourself exploring a future of intelligence both artificial and biotech, along with a mysterious plant that induces strange visions. Krohn writes eloquently, passionately, about the nature of reality, the nature of Nature, and what it means to be human. One of Finland’s most iconic writers, translated into many languages, and winner of the prestigious Finlandia Prize, Krohn has had an incredibly distinguished career. Collected Fiction provides readers with a rich, thick omnibus of the best of her work. This collection includes several previously unpublished English translations, foremost among them the novels Pereat Mundus and The Pelican's New Clothes. Other novels included are: Tainaron, Dona Quixote, Ophir City of Gold, and Datura.

57 review for Leena Krohn: Collected Fiction

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tom Lichtenberg

    If it were possible for a writer to be a major influence in your life in reverse chronological order, then I would say without a doubt that Leena Krohn is now one of my major influences, though I never heard of or read her before this past week. I think she would be 0kay with the concept. Her writing is a bright piece of a puzzle that's been forming in my mind like a personal mandala over a period of decades, sitting alongside the Stanislaw Lem of Memoirs Found in a Bathtub, the Italo Calvino of If it were possible for a writer to be a major influence in your life in reverse chronological order, then I would say without a doubt that Leena Krohn is now one of my major influences, though I never heard of or read her before this past week. I think she would be 0kay with the concept. Her writing is a bright piece of a puzzle that's been forming in my mind like a personal mandala over a period of decades, sitting alongside the Stanislaw Lem of Memoirs Found in a Bathtub, the Italo Calvino of Cosmicomics, the Macedonio Fernandez of The Novel of Eterna, the Cesar Aira of How I Became a Nun, the Julio Cortazar of Cronopios and Famas,and on down the line of the great absurdist/existentialist/philosophical/sci-fi-ish/masterful fiction writers that have every now and then burst upon my imaginary world and dazzled it with all-new impeccable fireworks. All of them I feel would be comfortable inside each others' pages. The Collection Fiction is packed full of treasures, novels and stories all in small byte-size pieces that add up to a polynomial of their wordcount. You could easily mistake it for one work altogether written over many years that's sole intent is to open a window into a fascinating soul. A book is like a mirror, Georg Christoph once said, but some books are more translucent than others, and allow a depth perception in more dimensions than the visible. In 'Hakan and the x-creatures', one of my favorite bits, Krohn describes how creatures in higher-dimensional spaces (say five, seven or even thirty-five dimensions) can know everything about those in the lower orders, but we lower ones can not even imagine them, yet they are certainly there, always present, never perceived. Throughout this particular novel (Pereat Mundis) an online advice counselor interacts with a man suffering from "eschatophobia" - the fear of the end of the world. The client's communications are full of the possible end-time scenarios, while the counselor responds with trite advice about attending to one's love life or perhaps volunteering in some do-gooder organization. They talk right past each other and neither takes notice of the other. It's as infuriating and hilarious as any online comments section. I'm especially enjoying how she uses the same character (Hakan) for multiple characters - now he's a hybrid human/chimp/wolf/goat, now he's suffering from rapid aging syndrome, now he's the eschatophobic client, now he's a customer service rep for a cryogenics company - and why not? All the Hakans are wonderful! These stories, along with their inventive playfulness and serious insights, are also beautifully written, charming and disarming. They make me happy and at the same time make me wish 'if only I could do something like this', wouldn't that be great?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ellie J.

    5/5 stars Recommended for people who like: speculative fiction, weird stories, story fragments, slice-of-life, open endings Note: I am only reviewing Tainaron. Mail from Another City, not the entire collection. I may come back one day to review the whole collection, but for now my stars and comments only count for Tainaron. Tainaron is a fairly short story. I think it's maybe 70-some pages in total, with the 'chapters' being no more than a handful of pages each, so it's very easy to get through. Th 5/5 stars Recommended for people who like: speculative fiction, weird stories, story fragments, slice-of-life, open endings Note: I am only reviewing Tainaron. Mail from Another City, not the entire collection. I may come back one day to review the whole collection, but for now my stars and comments only count for Tainaron. Tainaron is a fairly short story. I think it's maybe 70-some pages in total, with the 'chapters' being no more than a handful of pages each, so it's very easy to get through. That being said, it is also a very, very weird book. Most of the chapters/letters have some strange person or goings on, but it works, because Krohn manages to connect all the weirdness together. It's Alice in Wonderland-weird, not 'my cousin did LSD and wrote a story about his trip'-weird. It's a delicate balance for me when reading stories between Weird Stories that I like and Weird Stories that I don't (and often if I don't like them then I hate them), and there is something about the mix in Tainaron that I like. I really enjoyed how strange the story was and liked each new thing that Krohn brought to the table. Today it's human-sized flowers, a few days later a sinkhole, then winter that you can see coming, etc. It made each chapter/letter feel like its own story, but, as mentioned, also as part of a whole. The narrator is kind of hard to get a grasp on throughout the story. They're a tourist to Tainaron and are writing to someone who never replies. In their letters they describe the things they've experienced while in the city, the nice and the not-so-nice. Parts of it are written in a kind of poetry-prose, which obviously works to conceal the narrator's characterization behind pretty words and cut off phrases, but then other parts of the book are astoundingly open with the narrator's character. They don't shy away from admitting that sometimes they ask too many questions and end up in situations they aren't sure they want to be in. But then other times they reminisce on the past and emphasize these memories that the letters' receiver (and, I suppose, the audience) is supposed to know. The other characters are similarly veiled, with neither the narrator nor the audience really getting to know Longhorn, though the narrator certainly feels as though they know him deeply at the end. Longhorn is a fairly serious fellow, though he does humor the narrator at times and can take her rudeness and questions fairly well. Other than the recipient of the letters, who is never shown nor named, Longhorn is really the only continuous character in the story. The other characters in the story are talked about broadly, and often in the collective. When the narrator is astounded by the Fireflies, it is always the group, never a single individual, that catches their attention. Likewise, the narrator is intrigued by aspects of Queen Bee, but not particularly the Queen Bee herself. It is all broad strokes, yet somehow this doesn't take away from my enjoyment of the story the way not defining characters might in other books. Perhaps it's because Krohn doesn't just not flesh out the characters and leaves it, but rather she draws attention to other aspects of the characters while abandoning the traditional characterization methods (or, at least 'traditional' for English-speaking countries, which neither Leena Krohn nor Tainaron come from). The motifs and themes that cycled through the story were interesting as well. There are some in the first half (ex. individual vs. collective, particularly in regard to identity) that aren't in the second half, but almost all the motifs in the second half of Tainaron are in the first. The three main ones I picked up on throughout the book were: change and continuity, death and immortality, and memory. They can be pretty subtle at times and really feeds into this whole idea that you never really know what's going on in the city and with its inhabitants. The narrator questions a lot of things, which is really when these motifs and themes become obvious, but I though the way that they were woven throughout the story added a layer of complexity to it and really helps to jumpstart some thoughts and questions, which Krohn doesn't necessarily follow through on answering. Overall I really liked Tainaron and thought it was perfectly weird. Krohn doesn't really give you any answers to the questions she and the narrator raise in the book, but I don't think that detracts from it and instead leaves readers with things to think about and flesh out for themselves.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Shasta8sisyphus

    Actually I'm just 30 something pages in, but I am in love! Actually I'm just 30 something pages in, but I am in love!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Uttiya Roy

    Perhaps the greatest fantasy/science fiction collection that I have read in a long long time

  5. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    I picked up this book because the author, Leena Krohn, was cited in another book I was reading about science fiction, who was someone whose work was in collage form, who write individual pieces that together formed a novel or narrative. I really enjoyed seeing the semi-experimental form her work takes, although it was slightly more non-understandable to me than I like. Which means, I admire her work, and it helped me think more about my own writing and how I'll want to structure my writing bette I picked up this book because the author, Leena Krohn, was cited in another book I was reading about science fiction, who was someone whose work was in collage form, who write individual pieces that together formed a novel or narrative. I really enjoyed seeing the semi-experimental form her work takes, although it was slightly more non-understandable to me than I like. Which means, I admire her work, and it helped me think more about my own writing and how I'll want to structure my writing better. I would prefer a bit more clues to the reader about what's going on than Krohn does. For instance, her novel Doña Quixote and Other Citizens was composed of a number of short narrative scenes and reflections, mostly disjoint-seeming from one another. In a very relevant review of a different book by Krohn, Peter Berbergal wrote in The New Yorker: Plot is hard to come by. Instead, Krohn offers up the narrated inner lives of characters trying to make sense of their environments, and of the other people whom they encounter. It was enlightening to see this approach, and to think about what I could borrow from Krohn's structure. The book I saw her work in was Jeff and Ann Vandermeer's Jeff and Ann Vandermeer's The Big Book of Science Fiction. By the way, pick up a copy of the Vandermeers' collection of science fiction if you want a wide-ranging anthology of international and significant SF; their history and context of an author's work beside each story is worth it alone!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dimitry Rakin

    I cannot even begin to describe this book and how thankful I am to Jeff & Ann Vandermeer for putting efforts into getting this together and publishing a huge collection of fiction from a largely unknown (for English speaking readers) author. Leena Krohn is unique and her fiction stands out whether you try comparing her with weird fiction, sci-fi, magical realism or what have you. I read this collection cover to cover craving for more and have since re-read every novel, Tainaron and Datura for mu I cannot even begin to describe this book and how thankful I am to Jeff & Ann Vandermeer for putting efforts into getting this together and publishing a huge collection of fiction from a largely unknown (for English speaking readers) author. Leena Krohn is unique and her fiction stands out whether you try comparing her with weird fiction, sci-fi, magical realism or what have you. I read this collection cover to cover craving for more and have since re-read every novel, Tainaron and Datura for multiple times. Can we get more of her booked published in English somehow please? Otherwise, I'm starting to think learning Finnish might be an only option to get my fix.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    This book compiles the work of a Finnish author that I was unfamiliar with, but who gets compared to Calvino, LeGuin, Woolf, Kundera, etc., so naturally I was intrigued. Not all of Krohn's novellas/stories were engaging to me, but some of the more sci-fi leaning works were very interesting. I also liked the story about a pelican who puts on clothes and passes as a human, except that kids recognize him to be a bird. I could not predict where these stories where going to end up, and would not gues This book compiles the work of a Finnish author that I was unfamiliar with, but who gets compared to Calvino, LeGuin, Woolf, Kundera, etc., so naturally I was intrigued. Not all of Krohn's novellas/stories were engaging to me, but some of the more sci-fi leaning works were very interesting. I also liked the story about a pelican who puts on clothes and passes as a human, except that kids recognize him to be a bird. I could not predict where these stories where going to end up, and would not guess all of these works to come from the same mind.

  8. 5 out of 5

    David

    I've finished reading Tainaron, my first novella in this hefty collection. I compare her favourably to the weirdness of Borges and the floating, dreaminess of Dunsany. In this novella she has much to say about communication, about the other, about foreignness, and about how we are transformed by others. I've finished reading Tainaron, my first novella in this hefty collection. I compare her favourably to the weirdness of Borges and the floating, dreaminess of Dunsany. In this novella she has much to say about communication, about the other, about foreignness, and about how we are transformed by others.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Terry Pearce

    These didn't go anywhere enough for me. The prose was also not as amazing as I'd been led to believe, in my opinion. I love Calvino and others this work has been compared to, but this seemed less worthwhile. These didn't go anywhere enough for me. The prose was also not as amazing as I'd been led to believe, in my opinion. I love Calvino and others this work has been compared to, but this seemed less worthwhile.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tom Williams

    I didn't read the novel excerpts at the end of the book, but everything up to that point was phenomenal. Pereat Mundus was exceptional, and the other mosaic novels were pure poetry. Fantastic. I didn't read the novel excerpts at the end of the book, but everything up to that point was phenomenal. Pereat Mundus was exceptional, and the other mosaic novels were pure poetry. Fantastic.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Des Lewis

    This book has been one of those not brought-up-short but brought-up-long-by-reading-landmarks that you sometimes gradually meet and appreciate in passing life, neutrally passionate with its SF wings, large and small. The detailed review of this massive book posted elsewhere under my name is too long to post here. Above is one of its conclusions.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Erik Wirfs-Brock

    Rolling update since this is an omnibus of multiple novels- Dona Quixote- **/unfinished Tainaron. Mail from another City **** Datura *** 1/2 Pereat Mundus: a Novel of Sorts. **** The Pelican's New Clothes *** 1/2 Gold of Ophir ** 1/2 Individual ratings might be a little superfluous since this is definitely a writer who seems to write the same book over and over. Every book is basically brief musings about a weird phenomenon or an aspect of life. A wise author, definitely worth reading. Rolling update since this is an omnibus of multiple novels- Dona Quixote- **/unfinished Tainaron. Mail from another City **** Datura *** 1/2 Pereat Mundus: a Novel of Sorts. **** The Pelican's New Clothes *** 1/2 Gold of Ophir ** 1/2 Individual ratings might be a little superfluous since this is definitely a writer who seems to write the same book over and over. Every book is basically brief musings about a weird phenomenon or an aspect of life. A wise author, definitely worth reading.

  13. 5 out of 5

    William Walsh

    This is a surrealist series of stories that are loosely interconnected. The writing (even in translation) is gorgeous, and Ms. Krohn brings a subtle feminist rethinking to the world. There is a bit of work in getting through this book, so don't pick it up for the beach this summer or for the cabin in the winter - but read it for yourself when you have time. This is a surrealist series of stories that are loosely interconnected. The writing (even in translation) is gorgeous, and Ms. Krohn brings a subtle feminist rethinking to the world. There is a bit of work in getting through this book, so don't pick it up for the beach this summer or for the cabin in the winter - but read it for yourself when you have time.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Gareth

    Giving up on this. I made it through the first two novels in the collection, but the choppy, episodic nature didn't do it for me. The main characters in each didn't really seem to "do" anything, things just seemed to happen - no agency or desire. I suspect I am too stupid to work out what's really going on, to get what I am missing. Giving up on this. I made it through the first two novels in the collection, but the choppy, episodic nature didn't do it for me. The main characters in each didn't really seem to "do" anything, things just seemed to happen - no agency or desire. I suspect I am too stupid to work out what's really going on, to get what I am missing.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Gretel

    One of the best things I have ever read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Drew

    review TK next week

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sten Listra

  18. 4 out of 5

    Holly Iossa

  19. 5 out of 5

    Martin Hadis

  20. 4 out of 5

    Vivienne

  21. 4 out of 5

    JWhitelaw

  22. 4 out of 5

    Clev Erson

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jytta Poijarvi-Miikkulainen

  24. 4 out of 5

    Phil

  25. 4 out of 5

    Simon Maxwell-Stewart

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jake Stone

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ted Laderas

  28. 5 out of 5

    Richard Treat

  29. 4 out of 5

    Scullyreads

  30. 4 out of 5

    Amelia Mangan

  31. 4 out of 5

    Nathan "N.R." Gaddis

  32. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

  33. 4 out of 5

    Meagan P. Kavouras

  34. 5 out of 5

    Orion Zangara

  35. 5 out of 5

    John

  36. 4 out of 5

    windy

  37. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Ragsdale

  38. 4 out of 5

    Josh Daniel

  39. 4 out of 5

    Katja

  40. 4 out of 5

    Mary Ellen

  41. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  42. 4 out of 5

    Audrey Maran

  43. 4 out of 5

    Lianne

  44. 4 out of 5

    Eugene

  45. 5 out of 5

    Cassandra

  46. 4 out of 5

    ke7in

  47. 4 out of 5

    Felicia

  48. 4 out of 5

    Andyhat

  49. 4 out of 5

    Nick

  50. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth

  51. 5 out of 5

    Loren

  52. 5 out of 5

    Renée

  53. 4 out of 5

    Courteney

  54. 5 out of 5

    Alex Poli

  55. 4 out of 5

    Alex

  56. 5 out of 5

    Rudi

  57. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

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