Leena Krohn: Gold of Ophir

A fusion of language, imagery of science, alchemy and the Old Testament.

Author: Leena Krohn
Finnish original: Oofirin kultaa

Publisher:  WSOY, 1988
Genre: literary fiction
Number of pages:  198 pp.
Reading material: Finnish original, English translation

Rights sold: English, Cheeky Frawg Books

Welcome to watch a kaleidoscopic series of images from a city in which different eras and worlds come together – not seldom in the form of mythical creatures! The world here is bright and lush, perhaps deriving its vivid colours from the shadows of the Gold-Washers’ dreams and disappointments.

Gold of Ophir has been called the most mysterious of all the allegories created by Leena Krohn. The characters seem to be only memories of the narrator – or reflections of other texts, or layers of mythology. The dream-like illusions intertwine with dream-like events
and historical and cultural stimuli, making the work a magnificent read. Gold of Ophir won the Portti Award in 1988.

Krohn’s imagined, ghostly worlds form the setting of […] Gold of Ophir (1987); these unfold in brief episodes, some just a few paragraphs long, that embrace improbable geometries and physics, worlds of ‘insignificant protuberances that were at first hardly distinguishable
from the surrounding sandy plain.
– Kirkus starred review

Krohn offers up the narrated inner lives of characters trying to make sense of their environments, and of the other people whom they encounter. Many of the works are set in cities, but the worlds that Krohn’s characters inhabit never feel concrete: everything is mediated through particular characters’ perceptions. The reader is left with the sense of having intruded on someone’s dream, in which symbols are revelations of intimate details.”
– The New Yorker

Also available:
Things I Never Learned (2021)
Perdition (2018)
A Letter to Buddha (2016)
Mistake (2015)
Hotel Sapiens (2013)
Children of the Sun (2011)
False Window (2009)
My Home is Riioraa (2008)
The Bee Pavilion (2006)
Datura (2001)
Mathematical Creatures, or Shared Dreams (1992)
Umbra (1990)
Tainaron (2006 | 1985)
Doña Quixote and Other Citizens (1983)
The Pelican’s New Clothes – A Story from the City (1976)
The Green Revolution (1970 | 2020)

About the author:
Leena Krohn