An intelligently humorous song of rejoicing about the strange, defining characteristics of existence.
Author: Leena Krohn
Finnish original: Mehiläispaviljonki
Publisher: Teos, 2006
Genre: literary fiction
Number of pages: 208 pp.
Reading material: Finnish original, English sample, Swedish translation
Rights sold: Denmark, Jensen & Dalgaard; Japan, Shinhyōron; Sweden, Kabusa
The Bee Pavilion is a former support center for the psychically ill. It is one of the few old buildings in the city, and also under threat of demolition. It hosts within the shelter of its bricks walls various associations, swarms. These include The Promoters of Municipal Science, The Nasal Twang Speakers, The Society for Water Jet Ski Competition, The Club of Non-Human Persons, The Cynics, The Luddite Club, and the Lipographs. The amateur theater company Heart & Liver and Hecuba’s Porno Shop also operated in the Bee Pavilion.
To his own surprise, the narrator of The Bee Pavilion joins the Fluctuating Reality Club. He gets to know many of the frequenters of the Bee Pavilion, and also Lahja, the hearing impaired janitor who battles disorder and entropy daily. The Bee Pavilion is a building of stories. Strange, surprising, and inexplicable experiences unite the members of the Fluctuating Reality Club.
Anything – even the accumulation of a pile of black dust in a house – can derail a person and make them doubt the permanence of a universal and equal reality. Just meeting someone new is enough for a shift in reality. People start transforming and changing realities as soon as they drift into each other’s sphere of influence.
“Krohn combines philosophy, fantasy, and contemporary criticism in a way that has predecessors in the Menippean satires of antiquity, Voltaire or Italo Calvino. Krohn’s narrator is genuinely enchanted by the mysteries of nature, science, and the human mind, but also intensely sarcastic, even moralistic, in describing the extreme phenomena of contemporary culture.”
– Helsingin Sanomat newspaper
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