Read and discuss Scandinavian literature in translation as part of our Nordic Book Club, now online! Each month we select a novel from some of the best Nordic literary voices. On July 11, we’ll be discussing Evil Flowers by award-winning Norwegian writer Gunnhild Øyehaug (Present Tense Machine), who recently discussed the book with us in a virtual talk streaming here.
In Evil Flowers, a precise but madcap collection of short stories now in translation by Kari Dickson, Gunnhild Øyehaug extracts the bizarre from the mundane and reveals the strange, startling brilliance of everyday life. A section of a woman’s brain slips into the toilet bowl, removing her ability to remember or recognize types of birds — though she is an ornithologist. Medicinal leeches ingest information from fiberoptic cables, and a new museum sinks into the ground.
Across 25 stories, Øyehaug renovates the form again and again, confirming Lydia Davis’s observation that her every story is “a formal surprise, smart and droll.” Inspired by Charles Baudelaire, a dreamer and romantic in the era of realism, Øyehaug revolts against the ordinary, reaching instead for the wonder to be found in fantasy and absurdity.
Brimming with wit, ingenuity, and irrepressible joy, these stories mark another triumph from a dazzling international writer.
About Gunnhild Øyehaug
Gunnhild Øyehaug is an award-winning Norwegian poet, essayist, and fiction writer. Her story collection Knots was published by FSG in 2017, followed in 2018 by Wait, Blink, which was adapted into the acclaimed film Women in Oversized Men’s Shirts.
Her novel Present Tense Machine was published in 2022. Øyehaug lives in Bergen, where she teaches creative writing.