Riveting Reads for Busy People
No time for a novel? You could read a story from one of these stellar collections during your lunch break—but we bet you won't stop at just one.
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Tidbeck's superb, surrealistic story collection opens: "Franz Hiller, a physician, fell
in love with an airship." It's an
irresistible line that hints at the virtues contained in the ensuing pages:
surprising premises depicted with a plainspoken, fable-like grace. In "Miss
Nyberg and I," a woman grows a personal
companion as if it were a plant; "Rebecka"
is set in a time when the Second Coming has already occurred, creating its own
complications; and in "Who Is Arvid Pekon?"
a worker at a government call center seems to have the power to connect people
to their dead relatives. But Tidbeck, who translated these stories from her
native Swedish, isn't stressing the weirdness of these
setups so much as using them to remind us of our quirky human nature, as fairy
tales and folklore so often do. Nightmares and spirits populate the powerful "Reindeer
Mountain," but at heart it's
about family ties and the fear of madness passing down through generations. And
the story about that airship-loving doctor, becomes a surprisingly tender look
at the nature of love and companionship, and a smart allegory about
misunderstanding and mistreatment. A must-read for anybody looking for a jolt
of something new and provocative.
— Mark Athitakis