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Knots: Book summary and reviews of Knots by Gunnhild Oyehaug (author), Kari Dickson (translator)

Knots

Stories

by Gunnhild Oyehaug (author), Kari Dickson (translator)

Knots by Gunnhild Oyehaug (author), Kari Dickson (translator) X
Knots by Gunnhild Oyehaug (author), Kari Dickson (translator)
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  • Published Jul 2017
    176 pages
    Genre: Short Stories

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Book Summary

A mesmerizing collection of playfully surreal stories from one of Norway's most celebrated writers.

First published in Norway in 2004, Knots is Gunnhild Øyehaug's radical collection of short stories that range from the surreal to the oddly mundane, and prod the discomforts of mental, sexual, and familial bonds.

In both precise short-shorts and ruminative longer tales, Øyehaug meanders through the tangled, jinxed, and unavoidable conflicts of love and desire. From young Rimbaud's thwarted passions to the scandalous disappearance of an entire family, these stories do the chilling work of tracing the outlines of what could have been in both the quietly morbid and the delightfully comical. A young man is born with an uncuttable umbilical cord and spends his life physically tethered to his mother; a tipsy uncle makes an uncomfortable toast with unforeseeable repercussions; and a dissatisfied deer yearns to be seen. As one character reflects, "You never know how things might turn out, you never know how anything will turn out, tomorrow the walls might fall down, the room disappear."

Cleverly balancing the sensuous, the surreal, and the comical, Øyehaug achieves a playful familiarity with the absurd that never overreaches the needs of her stories. Full of characters who can't help tying knots in themselves and each other, these tales make the world just a little more strange, and introduce a major international voice of searing vision, grace, and humor.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A near-perfect collection about the knots we tie ourselves into and the countless ways we intertwine in the pursuit of sex, love, compassion, and family." - Kirkus

"[Øyehaug's] stories are as original as they are joyously delicate and tranquil." - Publishers Weekly

"These are stories to be relished, inspiring in their art and humanity both. How fortunate that we can now read them in Kari Dickson's sparkling and magically faithful English." - Lydia Davis, author of Can't and Won't

"The rich variety of the stories in Knots contributes to the sense of unpredictability and wonder that pervades the book. But wonder in Knots doesn't spring from variety alone. It arises from Gunnhild Øyehaug's very conception of story, and only a rare writer is capable of such sustained surprise." - Stuart Dybek, author of Ecstatic Cahoots

This information about Knots was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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More Information

Gunnhild Øyehaug is an award-winning Norwegian poet, essayist, and fiction writer. Her novel Wait, Blink was made into the acclaimed film Women in Oversized Men's Shirts. She has also worked as a coeditor of the literary journal Vagant and Kraftsentrum. Øyehaug lives in Bergen, where she teaches creative writing.

Kari Dickson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and grew up bilingual. She has a BA in Scandinavian studies and an MA in translation. Before becoming a translator, she worked in theater in London and Oslo. She currently teaches in the Scandinavian department at the University of Edinburgh.

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