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Swallowed by the Cold: Stories
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Published:
Graywolf Press 2016
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Description

The intricate, interlocking stories of Jensen Beach's extraordinarily poised story collection are set in a Swedish village on the Baltic Sea as well as in Stockholm over the course of two eventful years.
In Swallowed by the Cold, people are besieged and haunted by disasters both personal and national: a fatal cycling accident, a drowned mother, a fire on a ferry, a mysterious arson, the assassination of the Swedish foreign minister, and, decades earlier, the Soviet bombing of Stockholm. In these stories, a drunken, lonely woman is convinced that her new neighbor is the daughter of her dead lover; a one-armed tennis player and a motherless girl reckon with death amid a rainstorm; and happening upon a car crash, a young woman is unaccountably drawn to the victim, even as he slides into a coma and her marriage falls into jeopardy.
Again and again, Beach's protagonists find themselves unable to express their innermost feelings to those they are closest to, but at the same time they are drawn to confide in strangers. In its confidence and subtle precision, Beach's prose evokes their reticence but is supple enough to reveal deeper passions and intense longing. Shot through with loss and the regret of missed opportunities, Swallowed by the Cold is a searching and crystalline book by a startlingly talented young writer.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
05/17/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781555979355
ASIN:
B0140Q2YCG
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Jensen Beach. (2016). Swallowed by the Cold: Stories. Graywolf Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Jensen Beach. 2016. Swallowed By the Cold: Stories. Graywolf Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Jensen Beach, Swallowed By the Cold: Stories. Graywolf Press, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Jensen Beach. Swallowed By the Cold: Stories. Graywolf Press, 2016. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Needs Update?:
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 16:30:03
Date Updated:
Dec 06, 2020 02:43:05
Last Metadata Check:
Aug 07, 2022 07:44:42
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Oct 12, 2020 11:24:44
Last Grouped Work Modification Time:
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The intricate, interlocking stories of Jensen Beach's extraordinarily poised story collection are set in a Swedish village on the Baltic Sea as well as in Stockholm over the course of two eventful years.
In Swallowed by the Cold, people are besieged and haunted by disasters both personal and national: a fatal cycling accident, a drowned mother, a fire on a ferry, a mysterious arson, the assassination of the Swedish foreign minister, and, decades earlier, the Soviet bombing of Stockholm. In these stories, a drunken, lonely woman is convinced that her new neighbor is the daughter of her dead lover; a one-armed tennis player and a motherless girl reckon with death amid a rainstorm; and happening upon a car crash, a young woman is unaccountably drawn to the victim, even as he slides into a coma and her marriage falls into jeopardy.
Again and again, Beach's protagonists find themselves unable to express their innermost feelings to those they are closest to, but at the...

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title
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fullDescription

The intricate, interlocking stories of Jensen Beach's extraordinarily poised story collection are set in a Swedish village on the Baltic Sea as well as in Stockholm over the course of two eventful years.
In Swallowed by the Cold, people are besieged and haunted by disasters both personal and national: a fatal cycling accident, a drowned mother, a fire on a ferry, a mysterious arson, the assassination of the Swedish foreign minister, and, decades earlier, the Soviet bombing of Stockholm. In these stories, a drunken, lonely woman is convinced that her new neighbor is the daughter of her dead lover; a one-armed tennis player and a motherless girl reckon with death amid a rainstorm; and happening upon a car crash, a young woman is unaccountably drawn to the victim, even as he slides into a coma and her marriage falls into jeopardy.
Again and again, Beach's protagonists find themselves unable to express their innermost feelings to those they are closest to, but at the same time they are drawn to confide in strangers. In its confidence and subtle precision, Beach's prose evokes their reticence but is supple enough to reveal deeper passions and intense longing. Shot through with loss and the regret of missed opportunities, Swallowed by the Cold is a searching and crystalline book by a startlingly talented young writer.

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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Electric Literature
      • content: "Jensen Beach moves deftly in and around all of his characters' lives, often revealing with stark and startling clarity all the absurdity and beauty present in even the most mundane of daily rhythms."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Rumpus
      • content: "Intricate, riveting. . . . The suspense woven through Swallowed by the Cold is intensified by Beach's exquisite patience and attention to detail. . . . In the face of life's random violence and disquieting volatility, Beach's collection offers an unforgettable affirmation of the interconnectedness of all things."
      • premium: False
      • source: Vermont Public Radio
      • content: "[Jensen Beach's] stark, yet multiply-layered prose explores the deep uneasiness people feel, and communicates a complexity of emotions using an economy of words."
      • premium: False
      • source: Largehearted Boy
      • content: "Jensen Beach's impressive story collection is one of the year's most rewarding (and unsettling) books."
      • premium: False
      • source: Seven Days
      • content: "Each [story] stands alone as an arresting work of short fiction, yet, read in combination, all of theme expand and intensify as they interlock. . . . This is a shrewdly devised fiction, an intricately plotted work of art."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        March 21, 2016
        In "The Apartment," Beach writes, "Our individual memories of a shared event mean such different things to each of us." This idea drives Beach's overly ambitious but mostly solid second collection, both thematically and structurally. In the first part of "The Village of Elmsta," a man's swift death following a bicycle fall near a canal is ignored by a group of revelers passing by on a boat. The story's second half, told from the perspective of Henrik, the captain, shows why: he was too preoccupied by his mistress, Helle, to notice the tragedy unfolding ashore. But their affair isn't all passion and bliss; a later story, "Anniversary," alludes to insecurities and unequal footing between Henrik and Helle. Throughout the rest of these 16 interlinked stories set in Sweden, characters' morally ambiguous actions continue to simultaneously provoke readers' judgment and invite compassion. In "The Apartment," a woman named Louise gets sloppy drunk while remembering an old fling with a newly deceased neighbor. But in "Kino" and "In the Night of the Day Before," which occupy earlier spots in the collection, we know why she's dissatisfied: her closeted husband, Martin, ignores her in favor of frequenting a gay club showing X-rated videos. While some of the offerings are more grounded than others—"February 22, 1944" and "The Right-Hand Traffic Diversion," though vividly described, seem too removed from the main story line—the collection memorably depicts how selfish humans can be, and how often we're alienated from one another.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        March 15, 2016
        In these linked stories set in Sweden, a host of characters considers their family histories, the flaws of memory, and the looming prospect of their own mortality. Beach's second collection opens with a memorable image: two men engaged in a heated game of tennis in a small town north of Stockholm. One of them, a former professional player named Fredrik Holm, has a prosthetic arm; the other, Rolf Strand, seems like he'll be the central character of the story, right up until a sudden bicycle accident causes his death. Both characters loom large throughout the book--Rolf's son, Lennart, figures prominently in several stories, for example. The tales leap forward and backward in time, showcasing the ways different lives touch one another. Sometimes Beach's storytelling is gradual, allowing the reader to draw connections between the stories at his or her own pace. This isn't to say he avoids striking images. One story opens with an immediately gripping sentence: "From the bottom of a shallow ditch, Henrik needed help." Perhaps the strongest story here is "The Winter War I," in which the book's many layers are reflected in a kaleidoscopic plot: Lennart brings his grandfather Bent to the opening of a work of art called The Winter War, inspired by the 1939-1940 conflict in which Bent himself fought. Bent's own memory is failing, a condition mirrored by the artwork's compression and distortion of time, but he retains some certainty about his life. "I don't think it was anything like that," he says with good reason after watching it. The unexpected convergences and dramatic shifts in fortune of Beach's characters make for a measured, quietly powerful experience.

        COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        May 1, 2016
        Linked stories set in Sweden feature a variety of characters grappling with misfortunes, from mortality to adultery, as well as resentments. The tender The Drowned Girl portrays young Ingrid in the days following her discovery of a neighbor, Rolf, after he dies in a bike accident. Still struggling with the death of her mother, she finds an unusual connection with a one-armed, retired tennis pro. A number of tales follow Rolf's son, Lennart, upon his return to Stockholm after years abroad. Lennart's internal dialogue is at odds with the perspectives of those around him, particularly his girlfriend, Marie, and his grandfather, and he becomes increasingly self-destructive. In The Apartment, Louise, a lonely, alcoholic housewife, visualizes her new neighbor as the child of a long-ago love, culminating in an ill-advised visit. Anniversary follows Henrik, Rolf's neighbor, as he begins a burgeoning affair with his colleague's wife, their first night together punctuated by a tragic moment in Sweden's history. Beach's nuanced stories explore the faulty powers of the mind and heart as disillusion clouds reason.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

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