Johanna Holmström: Camera Obscura

6 January 2010 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Camera Obscura
Helsinki: Söderströms, 2009, 334 p.
ISBN 978-951-52-2616-7
€ 24,90, hardback

This short story collection is Johanna Holmström’s fourth book since her debut in 2003. Camera Obscura is a fabric of narratives and personal destinies which create a dense, novel-like whole. The preamble is a young environmental activist’s suicide. The form is interwoven with the content, so that the stories in the book can be read as separate narratives, but to understand them fully we must read them all. Each person’s destiny is shaped in part by the choices and actions of others; to what extent is the individual responsible for the whole? Holmström (born 1981) writes fiction that is unpredictable but stylistically assured. She seamlessly weaves with classic fairytale motifs and also has a keen eye for detail and psychology. Camera Obscura is at once eerie, suspense-filled and socially aware.

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