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Fen: Stories por Daisy Johnson
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Fen: Stories (original 2018; edição 2017)

por Daisy Johnson (Autor)

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
16612125,886 (3.59)3
Fen is a liminal land. Real people live their lives here. They wrestle with familiar instincts, with sex and desire, with everyday routine. But the wild is always close at hand, ready to erupt. This is a place where animals and people commingle and fuse, where curious metamorphoses take place, where myth and dark magic still linger. So here a teenager may starve herself into the shape of an eel. A house might fall in love with a girl. A woman might give birth to a well what?… (mais)
Membro:msbrownmouse
Título:Fen: Stories
Autores:Daisy Johnson (Autor)
Informação:Graywolf Press (2017), Edition: First Edition, 208 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:fiction, short stories, compilation, read2021

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Fen por Daisy Johnson (2018)

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I am very wary of books of short stories. On the plus side they can be one way of telling a story through many different facets. On the down side they can be disjointed and jarring. Fen by Daisy Johnson was more like reading someone's dream diary.

I liked the constant refrain of the fen which was never far away. The darkness that inhabits that land and water which holds such a deep fascination of so many people. It is like history, mythology, and subconscious, all of them together, and running under your feet. ( )
  Ken-Me-Old-Mate | Sep 24, 2020 |
Fantastic and haunting. ( )
  viviennestrauss | Aug 25, 2020 |
Mud is not spooky
neither are fish, nor foxes
local muck-for-brains. ( )
  Eggpants | Jun 25, 2020 |
Daisy Johnson’s debut fiction, Fen, is a collection of stories set in eastern coastal England, in the Fenlands, a naturally marshy region that several centuries ago was drained and converted to low-lying farmland and is currently protected from flooding by dykes and an elaborate drainage system. Johnson populates her Fenland of the imagination with farmers, young women—often sexually curious and on the cusp of womanhood—and a variety of wildlife. The stories are frequently violent, and have a folkloric aspect to them, as if the characters are driven to behave as they do by some mysterious elemental force or ritualistic instinct, rather than according to their own wish or design. In “Starver” we go back in time to when the Fens were first drained, and men harvested eels for food. But almost as if wreaking revenge on man for interfering, the captive eels refuse to eat and provide little by way of sustenance. The focus then shifts to the present day and a girl named Katy who refuses to eat until her situation reaches a crisis, at which time she undergoes a magical, inexplicable transformation. “Blood Rites” features a group of three girls who have moved from Paris to England (drawn by the language: “None of us would ever fall in love in English. We would be safe from that.”), who lure men to their house in order to eat them. “The Scattering” is a long story about three teenage siblings, twin brothers Marco and Arch and their younger sister Matilda. For Matilda, her brothers are a puzzle, always itching for a fight, always looking for an excuse to go off on each other. Eventually Marco finds a partner and has a child. Arch goes in search of other sparring opportunities, showing off his scars to his family. He dies while out hunting for a fox, but then returns transformed. And “The Cull” is the brutal, harrowing tale of a farmer trying to rid his property of foxes, told from the perspective of his inquisitive wife. Johnson’s stories are loosely structured and, as these summaries indicate, frequently veer off on unexpected, extravagant flights of fancy. The book is filled with beauty and savagery, blood and lust. The land and sea and their feral inhabitants are never far from the minds of the characters, and, one could argue, represent restless and mischievous forces of nature that humans will never be able to tame. Johnson writes with great assurance. Her style is potently atmospheric, at times seeming every bit as untamed as her subject. But her prose is also marked by instances of wilful obscurity. The author, relentless in her quest for startling and unsettling effect through indirection and abrupt shifts in focus, occasionally leaves her reader floundering for meaning. But this is a trivial caveat and should not discourage anyone from seeking out this book. Fen remains an impressive, praiseworthy and highly original volume of short fiction that heralds an important new literary voice. ( )
  icolford | Jun 21, 2020 |
Set in the fens - that is, the reclaimed marshland - of eastern England, this collection of short stories announces the imminent arrival of an important new writer. Imminent, because although Johnson shows a great deal of promise in these pieces, she has not quite yet found her voice and theme.

The best story in the collection is the opening piece, "Starver," which begins by meditating on the bony, inedible eels that the men draining the fens came across, and then transitions into a story about two sisters, one of whom develops an eating disorder that causes her more and more to resemble one of those eels.

One of the unresolved issues in these stories has to do with their realism. The opening three tales all have supernatural or magical realist elements to them - people transforming into animals, for instance, or houses that are sentient enough to become a jealous lover - but other pieces are strictly realistic. For me, this slippage back and forth between realism and the supernatural had the feeling of inconsistency, as though the author was too easily manipulating the rules of the game.

Since the publication of Fen, Johnson has published her first novel, Everything Under, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize - it seems that already she has begun to develop on the promise shown in Fen. Nonetheless, that promise, at least in this book, is still raw, uncontrolled, but definitely present. I look forward to reading Everything Under in the near future. ( )
  vernaye | May 23, 2020 |
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Fen is a liminal land. Real people live their lives here. They wrestle with familiar instincts, with sex and desire, with everyday routine. But the wild is always close at hand, ready to erupt. This is a place where animals and people commingle and fuse, where curious metamorphoses take place, where myth and dark magic still linger. So here a teenager may starve herself into the shape of an eel. A house might fall in love with a girl. A woman might give birth to a well what?

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