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Tainaron: Mail From Another City
by Leena Krohn, Trans. By Hildi Hawkins
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Handsomely embellished with Finnish State Prize winner Inari Krohn's provocative etchings and xylographies, this brief, lyrical epistolary meditation on life, love and death, nominated for the prestigious Finlandia Prize, is the first of modern fabulist Krohn's works published in the U.S. The "woman" whose 30 letters make up the novel has recently come on a white ship to Tainaron, an insect-city within a volcanic cone, but she's forgotten why. The "lover" she addresses over the sea never replies, and she eventually abandons hope of answers, instead ranging the city with arthropodic "friend" Longhorn, who provides unsettling insights into the cycle of birth, change and absorption into new life. As summer fades to autumn and implacable winter nears, the narrator falls half in love with sleep and its easeful twin, death. The spiral-nautilus emblem of Tainaron's flag reminds its letter-writing guest, smitten by the realization of mortality, of the sweet anguish in the unavoidable alliance between birth and death, a recollection of "the dead [and] the gods." The author suggests no line divides language and music; her elegiac linguistic melodies enthrall the mind's ear, evoking as well bittersweet intimations of immortality more lovely, dangerous and disturbing than any realistic voice might utter.
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TAINARON: Mail From Another City is the first American publication by the internationally acclaimed Finnish author, Leena Krohn. TAINARON consists of a series of letters sent beyond the sea from a city of insects. TAINARON is a book of changes. It speaks of metamorphoses that test all of nature from a flea to a star, from stone and grass to a human. The same irresistible force that gives us birth, also kills us. Nominated for the prestigious Finlandia prize, this is the perfect introduction to the work of a modern fabulist.
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