A book of metamorphoses, where mythical creatures and tragic fates are connected in unexpected ways.
Author: Anu Kaaja
Finnish original: Muodonmuuttoilmoitus
Publisher: Teos, 2015
Genre: literary fiction
Number of pages: 168 pp.
Reading material: Finnish original, English sample, German sample
A statue of Napoleon walks away from its pedestal, a divine messenger starts bothering a window washer, a night of partying begins in present-day Finland and ends up at the court of the Sun King, and a troublesome building superintendent makes plans to remodel a tenant’s apartment, and his/her subconscious.
The collection itself is also continuously changing form the brazenly obscene veering into the lyrical and sensitive, settings shifting from fox hunts to space ships. The metamorphoses are sometimes dreams come true, sometimes places of refuge, or nightmares. There are scenes both phantasmagorical and realistic, that both conceal and reveal all that is important and difficult for people, whether it concerns money, food, home, gender, or sex.
And Kaaja tells it in language that is precise and crammed to bursting, whether with joy or sadness.
“Anu Kaaja writes thrillingly original stories whose depths expand with meaning-loaded symbols and uninhibited linguistic playfulness. In spite of their brevity, the stories invoke powerful images that stay with you, teeming in the furrows of the brain.”
– Helsingin Sanomat newspaper
“Kaaja is at her sharpest in brief tears that have something of the spirit of Luis Buñuel. Her unbounded imagination scoffs at our familiar, ostensible truths and exposes their twisted foundations.
– Savon Sanomat newspaper
“A sort of literary Guernica is the first comparison that comes to mind. The originality is by no means mere striving for peculiarity. The text varies from the poetic to gothic and from there to the quotidian, vulgar, and even obscene, but that is its originality. […] Here, too, the mark of quality is challenging and complicated.
– Länsi-Savo newspaper
About the author: