Bli som folk

Beasts and Other Stories

by Stina Stoor

“The sun shines in all the squash glasses making all the squash sparkle. Rubies, red campion, rowan! Kind of like that. Like magic! And Party Mum carefully slices the cake so that Sandra’s bit comes out beautiful and very large, almost scandalous, and it stands up in the middle of a flowery plate. The other children get cream-clogged spoons on the tablecloth but Party Mum is so kind she doesn’t even say anything about it. /.../ On the way home when Sandra leans back in her seat she feels that crown on her head and a slender elastic band under her chin. The crown is made of thick paper, golden on the outside and white inside. A kind of toy. She takes it off and leaves it there. Among the ice cream wrappers, pools coupons and wadding.
She asks:
‘Can I drive?’
And Dad replies:
‘Later.’
Because she hardly ever gets to, out on the big road:
‘Later Sandra, when we’re more closer to home.’”

Bli som folk consists of nine short stories, all set in the border districts of Västerbotten and Ångermanland, in northern Sweden. But also in the border area of present and past, and of childhood and adultness. Girls trying to become women, boys having to become men. And then there are the mysteries of nature.

Bli som folk is rich in detail as well as in suggestive images of a Västerbotten in change. Stina Stoor moves along paths already trod upon by great writers, but she brings us – in this unique debut – to places where we have never set foot before.

Bli som folk/Beasts and Other Stories was shortlisted for the August Prize for Best Fiction 2015, with the following words from the jury:
“In nine deceptively undramatic stories Stina Stoor sketches a portrait of the sparsely-populated region of Västerbotten. People here are contrary. And brief, so. Stina Stoor crafts a language tinged with dialect, and she is loyal to the child's imaginative world. The words that go unspoken and the meanings between the lines express a no-nonsense respect for the individual's simple right to be who they are. Beasts and Other Stories is nothing less than a renewal of the Swedish short story form. Just so.”

In 2016 Bli som folk/Beasts and Other Stories was awarded the Borås Tidning’s Debut Prize and the Katapult Debut Prize, by The Swedish Writers’ Union.

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