Oneiron

Reading material

English manuscript
Finnish edition
Danish edition
Norwegian edition
Swedish edition
Italian edition

Original title: Oneiron

Published: 2015

Publisher: Teos

Class/genre: Literary

Pages: 400

Prizes:

Nordic Council Literature Prize nominee 2017
Finlandia Prize 2015
Toisinkoinen Prize 2015
Runeberg Prize nominee 2015
Flame Bearer Prize nominee 2015

Seven women meet in a white, undefined space seconds after their deaths. Time, as we understand it, has ceased to exist, and all bodily sensations seem to have disappeared.

None of the women can remember what happened to her, or how she got there. Performance artist Shlomith from New York, chief accountant Polina from Moscow, heart transplant patient Rosa Imaculada from Brazil, upper-class Nina from Marseilles who is expecting twins, Wlbgis from the Netherlands, who suffers from throat cancer, Senegalese Maimuna, who dreams of a career as a model, and Austrian teenager, Ulrike. They don’t know each other. They don’t know why they are there – or where they are. In turn they try to remember, to piece together the fragments of their lives, their identities, their lost loves, and to pinpoint the moment they left their former lives behind.

Lindstedt plays with genres from essay to poetry, transitioning from humour to rage – while asking her reader to contemplate the question of death’s inevitability and what follows it. As also in Lindstedt’s acclaimed debut novel Scissors, Oneiron addresses the challenges of communication on several levels.


Rights sold:

Original publisher: FINLAND, Teos
WORLD ENGLISH, Oneworld
BULGARIA, Faber
CZECH REPUBLIC, Argo
DENMARK, Rosinante & Co.
FRANCE, Gallimard
HUNGARY, Scolar
ITALY, Elliot
LITHUANIA, Versus Aureus
NORWAY, Oktober
POLAND, Foksal
ROMANIA, Paralela 45
SWEDEN, Norstedts

Praise in the Finnish press:

“Lindstedt’s debut Scissors was a 2007 Finlandia Prize nominee, and it would be a surprise if Oneiron doesn’t receive the same honor, in the very least. On an international scale this is an exceptionally bright pearl of high literature – a novel that is close to perfect.”
Aamulehti, Finland

“Lindstedt uses the tools of literature to form a work of art with its own rules; one can only admire her execution and her ability to depict our world to a startling effect.”
– Helsingin Sanomat, Finland

”There’s nothing predictable in Laura Lindstedt’s elegant and in every way skillful analysis of humanity.”
Turun Sanomat, Finland

“[Lindstedt’s language] is powerful: the sprawling narrative flows masterfully smoothly.”
Savon Sanomat, Finland

”Only a couple of novels like this come up in Finland in a decade.”
– YLE.fi, Finland


Praise for foreign editions:

“Excellent speculative fiction about seven women who meet in the afterlife and try to clarify what happened to them … Oneiron is nomminated for the Nordic Council Literature Prize, and I predict a good chance of winning.” – Weekendavisen, Denmark

“There is something therapeutic, not to say soothing, in reading ’Oneiron’, as surrendering to a trust exercise, a collective favor. Hell is – not always – the others.” ***** – Politiken, Denmark

“Strong and original.” ***** – Jyllands-Posten, Denmark

”A very touching way of describing how much women’s lives are controlled by the body, but also just a truly amazing book about the feelings, experiences and creations that create a (woman’s) life.” ****** – Femina, Denmark

”Laura Lindstedt is a masterful narrator – the translation to Danish is also masterful – and the story leads its speechless reader through an oxygen, dreamlike and fascinating universe.” **** – Kristeligt Dagblad, Denmark

”Laura Lindstedt gives away his great knowledge and knock-winning imagination.” **** – Berlingske, Denmark

A strong candidate for the Nordic Council Literature Prize … it’s just a dedication to Lindstedt’s fabulous, lush and philosophical narrative art … a fabulous piece of work. A victory for romance.” – Dagbladet, Denmark

”Oneiron is really well-written … It’s not a novel you read in a short time, but a novel that requires concentration and time. On the other hand, you are enriched with an at times poetic story of high quality. The novel is nominated for the Nordic Council Literature Prize 2017, which is fully deserved.” – Bibliotekernes Lektørudtalelse, Denmark

Lindstedt weaves her unlikely story with the finest of writer’s hands – Oneiron is a spectacular novel.” – Svenska Dagbladet, Sweden

“A prize-worthy, magnificent meditation on the afterlife . . . with a suggestive warmth and forgiveness towards death in this frank portrait of seven women told with humour and a strong desire for storytelling.” – Dagens Nyheter, Sweden

“A wonderful, literary dream…” – Göteborgs-Posten, Sweden

“Oneiron is a powerful effort – to some extent also for the reader – international, rich in life and drama, embracing knowledge-based political, gender, medical and religious elements. … Lindstedt is a skilled dramatic and creative creator. Parts that touch on modern art, both in terms of visualization and depth, have a touch of Siri Hustvedt. … Linguistically, Lindstedt is fresh and inventive, which has been carefully observed by translator Tor Tveite.” – Janneken Øverland, Klassekampen, Norway

“A fascinating fable about dead women … Multi-faceted, feminist hued fantasy with a hint of magical realism…. Oneiron is ambitious and lush … The multiple stories are sensual, painful and rough, to reveal a multi-faceted reality and in turn become a virtuoso showcase in the imagination’s ability to make ever more acrobatic leaps … linguistic diversity, the slightly absurd or surreal elements that are elegantly propagated throughout this mosaic, vital, critically-acclaimed novel.” ****** – Steinar Sivertsen, Stavanger Aftenblad, Norway 

“Thought-provoking, gallows humour about the transition from life to death … I had never thought that a novel about death could be entertaining – and even fun – but Lindstedt’s novel is just that. It is fascinating and original in its reflection on life and death; a magical fantasy in the best sense of the word, but it is also realistic in its analysis of power and powerlessness. In other words, it is difficult to categorize, but easy to remain fascinated by for long afterwards.” ***** – Vigdis Moe Skarstein, Fædrelandsvennen, Norway

“Oneiron is touching, with its direct language, and in its multi-faceted and concrete approach to what life can be. The way in which Lindstedt portrays the biographies of the women in words, enriches the theme of life, the body, and art in a grotesque but also refreshing way.” – Ingeborg Urke Myklebust, Mellom, Norway

“Oneiron is a shameless, touching and absurd approach to the state we know little about, the space, the transition, the moment when we hover between life and death.” ****** – Torborg Igland, Fædrelandsvennen, Norway

“Oneiron is about death. It comes with interesting suggestions of how it is ”on the other side,” but actually sheds more light on the various power structures on our side.” Dagsavisen, Norway

“Oneiron is literally a fabulous work. A triumph of the art of the novel. An unmatched vision of life and death set mostly in the shade. Furthermore it’s so imbued with strange stories, deep wondering and ambiguous thought patterns that it will keep University of Helsinki literature students occupied for years to come.” – Fredrik Wandrup, Dagbladet, Norway

“Silk and iron […] an overwhelming novel.” – Anne Cathrine Straume, NRK, Norway

Laura Lindstedt’s construction is, specifically, about death. In this way, Dante Alighieri and Marcel Proust are subtly invoked.” –Daniele Abbiati, (transl. Irene Sorrentino / Riitta Ammunet)
il Giornale newspaper, Italy

“A visionary book.” – Marie Claire Italia


Praise from bloggers:

”Oneiron is like a stream that spills and spins towards something – death, at least. Before that happens, we live. Every life and death is unique. Stunning.”
– Tuijata culture blog, Finland

”Lindstedt’s prose offers many things that can’t be conceptualized…they can simply be felt. Lindstedt doesn’t shy away from her ambition, and writes deep, high literature that is becoming more and more rare… Oneiron is likely to earn its place among the international best of Finnish literature.”
– Kannesta kanteen, sivuista sivuille literature blog, Finland

“I’ve never read anything like Oneiron. In the best possible way.”
– Lukutoukan kulttuuriblogi, Finland

“Oneiron is bewildering, wild, multilayered, abundant and memorable. It is fierce and merciless but at the same time beautiful. It is one of its kind.”
– Kirjakaapin kummitus literature blog, Finland

”Oneiron shatters the narrative traditions of the novel, its masculine experience of the world and its penchant for reason, for Oneiron is an intellectual and emotional, feminist piece of work.”
– Luettua elämää literature blog, Finland


Praise from prize juries:

”Lindstedt’s artistic playfulness with the conventions of language, style, and prose makes the novel linguistically refined and impressive. The result is a work of multiple voices and multiple layers, in which modern expressions also assume something brilliantly classical. It is as if the author is striving to reach the infinite small details – the fractals – as she writes whole worlds within the space of the blink of an eye. The white reality of Oneiron, a blank page, is filled with living stories that celebrate human fantasy, with the possibilities that literature affords, and with uncompromising artistic work.” – Nordic Council Literature Prize jury

“Selecting the winning work was, in the end, easy: its voice, imagery and world were so distinctive. After giving myself permission to throw myself into its unreal world, everything suddenly became very real…The author’s ingenious way of renewing the form and structure of the novel is downright striking, and she does so in an extremely reader-friendly manner! This is a story about stories that could be true.”
– Heikki Harma, Finlandia Prize juror, musician and journalist

“Seven women arrive in a white space after death. This is a state of purgatory that precedes a final fading away; a place in which time or familiar contours don’t exist. The women who have dropped into this space represent different social classes, and are very far away from one another’s range of experiences, but each story is equally valuable. Oneiron contains innovative thematic and narrative dimensions, and invites its reader to find out about the fates of each character – with irresistible results. A demand for truthfulness and dignity runs through Lindstedt’s work. A woman’s right to her own destiny becomes a central theme. In her words Lindstedt makes visible something that is indescribable, that doesn’t exist and that can’t be expressed. She develops her themes, as well as strange and familiar moods, by creating new kind of art with words; she does so in a touching and lucid manner.”
– Toisinkoinen Prize jury

“This novel made an impression, starting from its dazzling opening. It manages to achieve, without fumbling, narrative goals that embrace the impossible. How should one write a story in which time doesn’t exist? How can seven women from different countries, without a shared language, manage to express themselves, understand one another and comprehend the fuzziness of existence in the intermediate state of death? And how can the reader be kept engaged from the first to the last page? The jury was glad to see how Oneiron seems to rise effortlessly to the best of international literature.”
– Finlandia Prize jury


Praise from foreign publishers:

“Oneiron is a high literature title with a perfect architecture, and will add literary value and prestige to our fiction portfolio. We will be proud to have this novel published by Editura Paralela 45. We were all, myself and my fellow colleagues, impressed by it, and I think it has to do with our eternal fascination with death, the perpetual question of “what are we, where are we going”, and Laura Lindstedt offers us such a penetrating description of the state after death, in a multi-level, multi-register narrative, from the biological to the philosophical perspective of human essence.”
– Mihaela Pogonici, foreign rights manager, Editura Paralela 45, Romania

“Oneiron is one of the most peculiar novels of the last few years. Laura Lindstedt is a writer with a unique and surprising voice.”
– Loretta Santini, editorial director, Elliot Edizioni, Italy

“We are really excited to introduce a new fresh voice of the Scandinavian literature to Czech readers and we’re happy to provide Laura Lindstedt with a new home in the Czech context”
– Gabriela Kiszová, Foreign Rights Manager, Argo, Czech Republic

“Lindstedt writes with an exceptional strength and originality. The story is well told and it is absolutely fascinating. I am filled with admiration. We strongly believe in Lindstedt – not only in Oneiron, but also in her entire (future) literary work – and we want to be the publishing house that introduces her to the Norwegian readers.”
– Signe E. Russwurm, Editor, Forlaget Oktober, Norway

“We are thrilled to secure a second Finlandia prize-winner. This is a novel to love, from Lindstedt’s richly drawn characters and exquisite prose to her clever range of narrative devices and complex plotting, throughout which she threads her subtle power games and metaphysical questions. A brilliant second novel from a rising star, it will be a very welcome addition to our growing list of literary translations.”
Juliet Mabey, Publisher, Oneworld Publications, UK

“When I started reading the novel and I experienced the intensity of Lindstedt’s writing, the suspenseful atmosphere she creates from the very beginning, I understood I was facing a “chef-d’oeuvre”. Her capacity to combine a fascinating story while building a reflection on the meaning of life and death is astonishing. We are immensely proud to welcome her at Gallimard .”
– Marie-Pierre Gracedieu, Gallimard, France

Oneiron is an extraordinary literary piece of work.”
– Henrik Lindvall, Senior Editor, Norstedts, Sweden

Oneiron is a wonderful and ambitious novel, original and intelligent. At the same time it is impressively tangible and almost corporeal, with such an interesting and warm tone of voice.”
– Marie Vinter, Editor, Rosinante, Denmark

“The contemporary Finnish literary scene is home to amazingly talented authors. It’s time for readers all over the world to discover them. We had the good fortune of becoming acquainted with an unparalleled new voice, Laura Lindstedt. We believe that her name will become unforgettable for Hungarian readers.”
– Andrea Illés, editor, Scolar, Hungary

“It rarely happens now for a book to pierce my heart. But this was the case. Laura Lindstedt managed to do it with her novel Oneiron. In a white nowhere and everywhere, I too, sat by fire with the women from the novel and shared their stories. This book grabbed me and didn’t let go. The voice of the author will sound in Lithuanian language and I believe our readers will be very happy to hear it.”
– Vytautas Stankus, Publishing project manager, Versus Aures, Lithuania

Laura Lindstedt


Laura Lindstedt (b. 1976) became a critical darling with her adoption-themed debut novel Scissors (Sakset, Teos 2007), which earned her a nomination for the Finlandia Prize, the country’s most prestigious literary honour. She is currently revising her Ph.D. thesis on French author Nathalie Sarraute. Lindstedt’s second novel Oneiron (Teos 2015) is a work of speculative fiction that takes place in the mysterious moments that follow one’s death. Oneiron has continued Lindstedt’s critical success, earning her the coveted 2015 Finlandia Prize.

Bibliography


Laura Lindstedt

Scissors

2007, Literary

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