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Booker International Longlist 2022 – After the Sun

After The Sun

After the Sun Written by Jonas Eika Translated by Sherilyn Hellberg

Book 4

Reviewed by BookWorm, Tracy & Rachel

Synopsis from Booker Prize website: With irrepressible urgency, Eika’s astonishing fiction juxtaposes startling beauty with grotesquery, and balances the hyper-realistic with the fantastical.

After the Sun opens portals to our newest realities, haunting the margins of a globalised world that’s both saturated with yearning and brutally transactional.

Under Cancún’s hard blue sky, a beach boy provides a canvas for tourists’ desires, seeing deep into the world’s underbelly. An enigmatic encounter in Copenhagen takes an IT consultant down a rabbit hole of speculation that proves more seductive than sex.

Meanwhile, the collapse of a love triangle in London leads to a dangerous, hypnotic addiction. And in the Nevada desert, a grieving man tries to merge with an unearthly machine.

BookWorm’s Thoughts:  Another short story collection me and the Booker judges do not see eye to eye. That said I mostly enjoyed this collection of stories some interconnected and some not. Once again I am sure I am not intellectual enough to work out why this deserved its place on the longlist.

Writing quality: 3/5
Originality: 2/5
Character development: 2/4
Plot development: 2/4
Overall enjoyment: 1/2
Total: 10/20

Tracy’s Thoughts:  I confess, I read this a long time ago, and don’t remember much about it. I remember an Alice in Wonderland vibe, but the rabbit hole was weirder than Wonderland.

It is another collection of stories, with queer underthemes. I also remember there being some graphic situations.

Mostly, I remember it being something I won’t pick up again.

Writing quality: 3/5
Originality: 3/5
Character development: 2/4
Plot development: 2/4
Overall enjoyment: 1/2
Total: 11/20

Rachel’s Thoughts: Huh. Where to begin? There were parts of this I loved, parts I actively disliked, and parts… I really just don’t know! Four distinct short stories with totally different plots and settings, yet somehow maybe related a bit. Possibly

I thought Eika’s ability to conjure up a sense of place was fantastic. Whether on the beach in Mexico, in Casey’s flat, or in the Nevada desert, I was there. I admit to hitting Google to find out whether Karen Ruthio was a real person. And the surreal elements knocked me quite off-kilter.

On the other hand, I’m not a fan of weird sex scenes (and some of these were Weird). I was quite disappointed by the ending of Me, Rory and Aurora, which felt far too much like ‘normal short story’. And yet I very often didn’t know what was going on. I would probably have got more out of this one if I’d read Eika’s interviews about the book beforehand. But I find it so frustrating to have to have a book explained to me.

In short, I’m confused by this one. I’m just not sure it’ll stay with me, for all its weirdness!

Writing quality: 3/5
Originality: 4/5
Character development: 2.5/4
Plot development: 2.5/4
Overall enjoyment: 1/2
Total: 13/20

Rankings
Elena Knows 18.25
Heaven 16.5
Happy Stories, Mostly 16
After the Sun 11.33

One Comment Post a comment
  1. The premise of this book really puts me off. Sometimes the Booker lists are just too ‘weighty’ for my tastes.

    Like

    March 26, 2022

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