The Singularity is a novel that appears to have been created from dark matter, elusive, giddying and with an enormous linguistic and narrative density.
The Singularity is composed with a great deal of complexity, that much is clear. However, the novel is not inaccessible by any means, as the author’s accurate prose conveys such distinct images – the alley, the coastal town, a refugee family’s suitcases at Arlanda, an ultrasound without a heartbeat. There are currently many books written about grief and mourning. Emotions are profitable. But Balsam Karam fortunately moves in a different dimension, beyond sentimentality. It would only be ridiculous to claim that The Singularity is affecting. If anything, it hits hard. The resistance vibrates both inside and underneath the text. An irrepressible refusal to accept injustices. The Singularity is elegant – and explosive – prose.
In Karam’s sinuous sentences memories blend together, identities become difficult to separate. Here, the past can suddenly unfold from the present; a uterus where the heartbeats have stopped can suddenly transform into a mirror reflecting childhood. Karam writes a prose that is sometimes musical, sometimes austere, sometimes light as a feather. It is lyrical, enigmatic and meticulously composed, but never bombastic or sentimental. Several times I must take a break from the reading that becomes overwhelming. Is Balsam Karam one of Sweden’s most talented, original and relevant rising stars of literature? I believe so. I hope that she never stops writing.
Balsam Karam was a promising debutant and I think that she is taking a major step forward in this new novel. Her linguistic exploration is something to pay close attention to. So is the ability to allow a milieu to exist right on the border between fiction and reality.