Such a fragile structure as reality can collapse from the power of two intoxicating seeds.
Author: Leena Krohn
Finnish original: Datura
Publisher: WSOY, 2001
Genre: literary fiction
Number of pages: 211 pp.
Reading material: Finnish original, English translation
Rights sold: Czech, Havran; English, Cheeky Frawg Books; World French, Zulma; German, Blumenbar; Hungarian, Polar
In Datura: Or A Figment Seen by Everyone the narrator transcribes a fifteenth-century manuscript while slowly poisoning herself with the seeds of datura plant. Though skeptical of supernatural phenomena, the delirium and dissociation caused by datura slowly disrupt that skepticism, and her days start filling with happy and joyful events and outstanding hallucinations.
Despite the advice of her friends, the narrator doesn’t want to stop eating the seeds, taking the reader with her on a strange journey in which the meaning of things sometimes seems very distant to their physical reality.
“Datura: Or A Figment Seen by Everyone is one of the standout stories in Leena Krohn: Collected Fiction.”
– The New Yorker
“Philosophically nimble, [Krohn’s] stories trade in wonderment: here time twists so that a figure ‘no longer owned anything, not even her own past,’ while there a character comes to each word in her native language as if encountering it for the first time – though that may just be the effects of a dose of datura.”
– Kirkus starred review
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