Reconfiguring Space

Whilst stopping over at the incomparable Hooting Yard the other day, I left a comment regarding an unwritten story by the Icelandic writer Fjona Uu. You may read it here.

For those interested in perusing the story Reconfiguring Space you may find it, along with the aforementioned The Easter Bunny is Alive and Well and Living in West Dulwich, in her 2000 short story collection Put on Your Ontic Stasis Suits, originally published in a limited edition of 250, but due to be reprinted (I’m told) later this year, in a slightly larger number.

Although I would recommend most of Uu’s work, those already familiar with her oeuvre will find little to surprise them in her short stories, many of which play around with themes dealt with at length in her two novels, Lava in a Cold Climate and Pincers in the Tower. Her Marxist sympathies have softened slightly over the last five years, I hear, which is just as well, for there is something  perverse about the pleasure she takes in torturing her bourgeois characters over the course of these early stories. Teach them a lesson, by all means, but there’s no need to overdo it.

Since we’re on the subject of Fjona Uu, short stories and overdoing things, a few friends of mine have pointed out the similarities between her work in this medium and that of postmodern trickster Hermann Husch, whose Pilgramage I covered here. It’s true: both writers have long set up camp on the boundaries between fiction and reality, with a marked propensity for taking characters out of context and playing with the minds of their readers to a unhealthily dangerous degree. Husch, however, puts Uu’s self-indulgence and literary perversities to shame. A story within a story within a story is probably enough for her. For him, it is nothing – it is far too simple.  It is only the beginning. You can never take an idea too far with Hermann Husch. He will run and run with it. And then some.

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