Omslagsbild: Singulariteten

Date of release: 2021-03-03
Pages: 228
Sold to: Australia: Text Publishing (ANZ rights), Bulgaria: Colibri, Netherlands: Kievenaar, Norway: Solum/Bokvennen, UK: Fitzcarraldo Editions (World English rights)
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Singulariteten /The Singularity

A mother is searching for her child, walking the streets calling her name. She is searching along the corniche where her daughter used to work. She keeps searching until she loses her mind, frantic with grief, forgetting her other children. What kind of mother could keep on living after the disappearance of her child?

A woman is on vacation, with a baby growing inside her belly, when she sees someone falling off the corniche. Later she will have to give birth to her stillborn child, refusing for as long as possible, imagining that as long as the baby is still inside her, it cannot be entirely lost.

The woman who has lost her baby is thinking about her own mother, remembering how she had once arrived at the parent-teacher meeting wearing the most precious piece of clothing she owned: a black-and-white rabbit fur she had received as a gift. Some of the older kids had pointed at her and laughed. Later, on their way home, she had walked far ahead of her mother. She remembers her mother’s losses: the loss of a language, a country, an identity. Is it possible to create a hierarchy of trauma?

Balsam Karam’s new novel The Singularity is an emotionally powerful and political work of grief, and can be read in adjunction with her radiant debut novel Event Horizon, if you so wish.




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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.
Dagens Nyheter
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.
Borås Tidning

Balsam Karam, b. 1983, is of Kurdish ancestry and has lived in Sweden since she was a child. She is an author and librarian and made her literary debut in 2018 with the critically acclaimed Event Horizon, which attracted a lot of attention and was later shortlisted for the Katapult Prize.

The Singularity is her second novel.

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