Leena Krohn’s Collected Fiction: The Book Too Big to Ignore


As some of you know, Ann VanderMeer and I run Cheeky Frawg Books. We primarily publish international fiction, and have lately focused on Finnish authors. The culmination of that interest took the form of the 850-page Leena Krohn: Collected Fiction, which we released in early December of last year. This omnibus collecting novels, novellas, and short fiction from one of Finland’s most respected writers took three years and more than half a dozen translators, as well as two designers, to get off the ground. Thanks to everyone who helped out–we couldn’t have done it without you. (Press kit here.)

We decided to publish such a huge compilation because we thought it would be hard for anyone to miss it–after all, it weighs almost five pounds! And since publication we’ve been blessed with so much amazing love for the collection–including from the New Yorker and the New York Times!–that I thought I’d post some of the relevant links. It’s not often that a quixotic project like this one receives the recognition it deserves, and we’re very grateful. We’re especially grateful to Kirkus for posting a starred review to get things rolling, Bustle for putting it on their best December books, and to AV Club for putting it on their year’s best list–as well as SF Signal for sharing the table of contents. We even got a shout-out from the New York public library.


Elizabeth Hand in the Los Angeles Times: “This is a writer whose work can rewire your brain, leaving you with an enhanced, near-hallucinatory apprehension of our fragile planet, and of all the beings that inhabit it.”

Peter Bebergal’s feature “Cracking the Codes of Leena Krohn” in the New Yorker: “n when working with fantastical elements, Krohn is perpetually attentive to what different forms of information—intuitions, the Internet, the inner lives of other creatures—can reveal to us about ourselves.”

New Yorker‘s list of “books we loved in 2015,” selected by Joshua Rothman: “Krohn writes like a fantastical Lydia Davis, in short chapters the length of prose poems. Her characters often have a noirish toughness.”

N.K. Jemisin’s review in the New York Times:  “A haunting, lovely book.”

The Mumpsimus’s musing about the collected fiction: “This book is as important a publishing event in its own way as New Directions’ release earlier this year of Clarice Lispector’s Complete Stories.”

NPR.org’s Jason Heller covers Krohn and other “hot” Finnish writers: “Its centerpiece is Tainaron, Mail from Another City, a breathtaking tale told in letters home from a city called Tainaron. It’s an unmappable, magic-realist sprawl of allegorical weirdness and symbolic wonder, an ever-morphing metropolis that wouldn’t feel out of place in Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities.

Johanna Sinisalo at Lithub on Five Finnish writers you should know: “A new omnibus of the best of her beautifully strange, often laconically philosophical novels and short stories that—with a touch of the surreal and fantastic—explore contemporary social and scientific issues with phenomenal clarity of both thought and style.”

An interview with me at io9 about Krohn and international fiction: “What I loved about Tainaron was this mosaic way of putting a novel together, but even more so how Krohn manages to make the most surreal concept pragmatic and tactile. She makes the impossible believable, and often in a way that’s both direct and poetic.”

An interview with Krohn at Electric Literature: “I think that the human brain weaves stories even when sleeping in order to stay healthy and functioning. I often write the stories or ‘acts’ that make up my novels without deciding their order in advance.”

An interview with Krohn at Lightspeed: “I try to be short and clear and rich in my writing. These were the three virtues of a writer, which H. C. Andersen talked about. (I love Andersen, because he knew that everything in the world is living.) Our life is consisting of short fragments, which our consciousness tries to unite. Our selves are the integral part of all happenings. There are no incidents without an observer, and where there is an observer, there are incidents. Writing is uniting.”

Literary buzz about Krohn at Publishing Perspectives.

Des Lewis’s real-time review of the entire collection!



Three Excerpts at Weirdfictionreview.com: (from Tainaron and others)

“Lucilia Illustris at Electric Literature (stand-alone story)

“Gorgonoids” at Lightspeed (from Mathematical Beings)