Leena Krohn: Mathematical Creatures, or Shared Dreams

Krohn’s Finlandia Prize winning collection shows existence as a shared dream of humankind.

Author: Leena Krohn
Finnish original: Matemaattisia olioita tai jaettuja unia
Publisher:  WSOY, 1992
Genre: literary fiction
Number of pages:  165 pp.
Reading material: Finnish original, English sample

Rights sold: Danish, Jensen & Dalgaard; Estonian, Eesti Päevalehe kirjastus; Swedish, Sahlgren

Mathematical Creatures, or Shared Dreams is a collection of twelve short, fantastical stories exploring the basis of human identity and human choices, knowledge and ignorance, mortality and immortality.

The narrator delves in the questions of visible reality and existence. Around her, there are strange creatures, such as gorgonoids, tubanide, pacmantis and lissajoune, which look like
aliens and act like they really would be from science fiction. Actually they, however, simulate certain physiological principles of the earth. And when the narrator compares a gorgonoid with a human, the underlying question is if spirit is just a mathematical equation.

Mathematical Creatures, or Shared Dreams was awarded Finland’s most important literary award, Finlandia Prize.

The most important short form literature of today has been formed of fantasy and unrelenting deliberation.
– Helsingin Sanomat newspaper on Mathematical Creatures, or Shared Dreams

Krohn’s work has been likened to Ursula LeGuin’s, though often it is more reminiscent of Calvino, Borges, and Lem, layered in with foreboding bits of Lovecraft. Not exactly science fiction, not exactly fantasy, but some hybrid of those genre blended with literary fiction, Krohn’s tales often involve the exploration of consciousness both human and animal—and, at times, that of machines – against myth-tinged backgrounds.
– Kirkus starred review

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)
Umbra (1990)
Gold of Ophir (1988)
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