Book Review: Amatka by Karin Tidbeck

by @edent | , | 1 comment | 300 words

Book cover - the title Amatka repeats over and over and over again.

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

Outstanding! In my opinion, good sci-fi should deal with concepts which are utterly alien to the reader - yet have profoundly understandable consequences. That's just what this delivers.

It's hard to describe the plot without spoiling it. It attracts superficial comparisons to 1984 - an all-knowing authority rewriting history for their own ends - but it's a much deeper and more beautiful story.

Amatka drip-feeds the reader information - giving us just what we need to know in order to make us crave the next chapter. Much like the mushrooms which dominate the plot, the reader is kept in the dark for as long as possible.

The world-building is sublime, there are little echoes of Doctor Who serials, the tension is ratcheted up, and the whole premise is reality bending.

I urge you to grab a copy.


One thought on “Book Review: Amatka by Karin Tidbeck

  1. Adam Klotblixt says:

    Happy to see it translated and published outside of Sweden, didn’t expect to see it reviewed here. I really enjoyed reading it: so grey, bleak and troubling. And a very good story!

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