First published in Norway in 2004, Knots is Gunnhild Oyehaug's radical collection of short stories that range from the surreal to the oddly mundane, and prod the discomforts of mental, sexual, and familial bonds.
In both precise short-shorts and ruminative longer tales, Oyehaug meanders through the tangled, jinxed, and unavoidable conflicts of love and desire. From young Rimbaud's thwarted passions to the scandalous disappearance of an entire family, these stories do the chilling work of tracing the outlines of what could have been in both the quietly morbid and the delightfully comical. A young man is born with an uncuttable umbilical cord and spends his life physically tethered to his mother; a tipsy uncle makes an uncomfortable toast with unforeseeable repercussions; and a dissatisfied deer yearns to be seen. As one character reflects, "You never know how things might turn out, you never know how anything will turn out, tomorrow the walls might fall down, and the room disappear."
Cleverly balancing the sensuous, the surreal, and the comical, Oyehaug achieves a playful familiarity with the absurd that never overreaches the needs of her stories. Full of characters who can't help tying knots in themselves and each other, these tales make the world just a little more strange, and introduce a major international voice of searing vision, grace, and humour.
Gunnhild yehaug is an award-winning Norwegian poet, essayist, and fiction writer. Her novel Wait, Blink was made into the acclaimed film Women in Oversized Men's Shirts. She has also worked as a coeditor of the literary journals Vagant and Kraftsentrum. yehaug lives in Bergen, where she teaches creative writing. Kari Dickson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and grew up bilingually. She has a BA in Scandinavian Studies and an MA in Translation. Before becoming a translator, she worked in theatre in London and Oslo. She currently also teaches in the Scandinavian department at the University of Edinburgh.