Karin Tidbeck, “Miss Nyberg and I” and “Rebecka”

Jagannath book coverIn “Miss Nyberg and I,” a gardener of interesting plants finds a little imp creature. In “Rebecka,” a survivor of a horrible assault wonders why God took so long to intervene and won’t let her die. (P.S. God is back around.)

(from Jagannath)

During winter he hibernated in the flower pot.

This collection is rocking my world. By which I mean I’m really digging it. The stories are short, weird, elegant, cockeyed versions of reality and set my curiosity motoring. I don’t know if there’s a real “Miss Nyberg,” or why the story’s called that, or whether the meaning of the last line was lost when the story was translated from Swedish (it seems… odd somehow). But I love this story. It’s like a classic fable turned modern and moral-free.

“People who hurt others are the ones with the best imagination,” Rebecka said.

“Rebecka” is darker and deeper, set in a time where God, after a long absence, has returned to prove his own existence and intervene in the affairs of people. But still, bad things happen and he still moves in mysterious ways not everybody’s happy about. This story’s too short to give anything away. I read it three times.

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