'Askildsen's dry, absurd humour is not unlike that of Beckett... His short stories are packed with irony, and the dialogue is sharp and expressive' TLS
Spare, taut and told with flashes of pitch-black humour, the short stories of Norwegian master Kjell Askildsen capture all the strangeness of modern existence. In this selection of tales, spanning the whole of his brilliant career, unnerving encounters occur, lonely individuals try to connect, families and relationships are fractured, and we are confronted by the fragility and absurdity of life.
'Full of compelling strangeness. Lives surge through a few brittle pages, suppressed loves and resentments threaten to erupt' Independent
Askildsen's dry, absurd humour is not unlike that of Beckett... His short stories are packed with irony, and the dialogue is sharp and expressive
Offers stark portraits of male sexuality and familial dysfunction that are full of compelling strangeness. Lives surge through a few brittle pages, suppressed loves and resentments threaten to erupt. Characters are rarely isolated but their loneliness is palpable as they steal time in the shadows. Names recur throughout the book so the reader tries to connect people with events, but it's the loose ends which draw you back to these taut dramas
Kjell Askildsen has a completely unique ability to write low-key tension between people, razor-sharp and often chamber-like stories that hit you with relentless certainty.
Askildsen, who has translated works by Brecht, similarly shines a spotlight on his characters, and that light is alienating and unforgiving, illuminating selfishness and stagnant relationships.
A master of the short story, Kjell Askildsen's unadorned style is not so much concerned with the manipulation of plotlines as with the manipulation of the reader's feelings and allegiances, with the presentation of characters as people, real people, people so like us that it's creepy, uncanny.
Reading Askildsen is like falling in love with someone you know will hurt you ... hypnotically alluring
One of the great storytellers of the human soul
Stark, minimalist stories, translated from Norwegian, about characters hungry for more than life has delivered