Back in 2012 Karin Tidbeck made her English debut with the short story collection, “Jagganath”, published by Cheeky Frawg Books. Spinning Scandinavian folklore and mythology, spanning over a plentitude of speculative fiction sub-genres, but leaning more towards weird fiction, “Jagganath” received its share of recognition, the collection won the Crawford Award, was nominated for the World Fantasy Award and appeared on the honor list of the Tiptree Award, while one of the stories, “Augusta Prima”, won the Science Fiction and Fantasy Translation Award. Since then Karin Tidbeck’s fiction has appeared on venues such as Tor.com, Shadows & Tall Trees, Uncanny Magazine or Lightspeed Magazine and in anthologies such as “The Starlit Wood”, “Fearsome Magics” or “The Starry Wisdom Library”, but this year sees the publication of Karin Tidbeck’s debut novel, “Amatka”. The English version of “Amatka”, originally published in Swedish in 2012, is due to be released on June 27th by Vintage Books and considering the already mentioned short story collection and the synopsis of the novel I am very curious to see what “Amatka” holds in store. I mean, a wintry location always fascinates me (I love winter, although I am not sure I would like it so much if I lived in a place where this season rules most of the year) and a story involving language, which apparently can’t be taken for granted here, artistic creation, an investigation and what looks like a totalitarian regime are elements that intrigue me greatly.
A surreal debut novel set in a world shaped by language in the tradition of Margaret Atwood and Ursula K. Le Guin.
Vanja, an information assistant, is sent from her home city of Essre to the austere, wintry colony of Amatka with an assignment to collect intelligence for the government. Immediately she feels that something strange is going on: people act oddly in Amatka, and citizens are monitored for signs of subversion.
Intending to stay just a short while, Vanja falls in love with her housemate, Nina, and prolongs her visit. But when she stumbles on evidence of a growing threat to the colony, and a cover-up by its administration, she embarks on an investigation that puts her at tremendous risk.
In Karin Tidbeck’s world, everyone is suspect, no one is safe, and nothing—not even language, nor the very fabric of reality—can be taken for granted. Amatka is a beguiling and wholly original novel about freedom, love, and artistic creation by a captivating new voice.