The Helios Disaster


Product Details

$15.99  $14.71
World Editions
Publish Date
5.0 X 7.9 X 0.6 inches | 0.5 pounds

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About the Author

LINDA BOSTRÖM KNAUSGÅRD is a Swedish author and poet, as well as a producer of documentaries for national radio. Her first novel, The Helios Disaster, was longlisted for the National Book Award for Translated Literature in the United States. Welcome to America, her second novel, was nominated for the prestigious Swedish August Prize and the Svenska Dagbladet Literary Prize in her home country, and was also longlisted for the Best Translated Book Award and the National Translation Award in the United States. October Child became a bestseller in Sweden and throughout Scandinavia, where it was published to great critical acclaim. RACHEL WILLSON-BROYLES is a freelance translator based in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She received her BA in Scandinavian Studies from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2002 and her PhD in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013. Other authors whose works she has translated include Jonas Hassen Khemiri, Jonas Jonasson, Malin Persson Giolito, and Linda Boström Knausgård.


"Ms. Boström Knausgård is good at evoking the fragility that can afflict even the most loving families. Her sentences, translated from the Swedish by Rachel Willson-Broyles, are short, dry and brittle, like tinder on the verge of combustion. The writing then takes fire in the desperate and disturbing portrait of mental illness" --Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal

"In brilliant, harrowing pages of deep interiority, Knausgård describes Anna's fever dream of alienation; Anna is desperate for love and confounded by it, and chronically incapable of connecting with those who might provide it. Knausgård's bluntly surreal style--she is also a poet-- suits Anna's vibrant, tormented imagination...Tidy endings are nowhere to be found; Knausgård instead gratifies by portraiture, in her thrilling conception of a young goddess on earth." --Publishers Weekly

"a moving trip to an emotional bottom...A flinty, lyrical, and storm-clouded study of loss." --Kirkus Reviews

"Knausgård is an impressive writer" --Publishers Weekly

"Knausgård's writing is crystalline and careful" --Kirkus Reviews

"Boström Knausgård's careful exploration of mental illness is restrained and entirely unsentimental. (...) Her prose is unobtrusive in its simplicity and minimalism. The result is both powerful and lyrical." --Words Without Borders

"Linda Boström Knausgård's The Helios Disaster vibrates with a strange, seductive intensity. A mythological origin story as well as a modern story of otherness, it portrays the push and pull of human connection--the anguish of yearning for, but also fearing, the warmth and reach of others. Knausgård's simple, disarming words bear complex, profound, and surprising truths."--Chia-Chia Lin, author of The Unpassing

"The emotional intensity created by Boström Knausgård recalls Sylvia Plath, but her spare, accelerating modern myth owes something to the poet/classicist Anne Carson's novels in verse. This novella cannot be read quickly, its psychological range and febrile prose demand attentiveness. It takes skill and imagination to describe extreme emotions in ways to which everybody can relate but that's what Boström Knausgård achieves in this short, piercing book."--The Independent

"This intriguing, lyrical novel is a powerful portrait of mental illness."--Times Literary Supplement

"The story is tightly, cleverly organized around a central idea: to show how Anna's perceptive, disturbed mind struggles to impose some kind of mental order and, finally, fails. The author's passionate involvement with her protagonist illuminates what it is like to slide irresistibly away from reality." --Swedish Book Review

"Linda Boström Knausgård's style is magical, hallucinatory, and very poetic. Passionate, refined, and as clear as cool water." --Aftonbladet

"The strangeness, originality, and supreme gentleness of the narrator's inner world contrast sharply with the more recognizable, though not in all respects ordinary world into which she is forced. This, combined with her quiet determination to find her father and the increasingly astonishing events that occur, all add up to form a surprisingly modern portrait of longing and the possibility of homecoming." --Bookslut

"The Helios Disaster is a story about longing for a father and about prepubescence. About the will to die, refusal, and a sun shining far too brightly. But in this field of tension there is also a simple happiness. Boström Knausgård's authorship keeps getting better and better." --Dagens Nyheter

"It is simple and it is grand, a story about a girl who came too close to the sun. The Helios Disaster shines!" --Kulturnytt i P1, Sveriges Radio (Swedish Public Radio)

"The Helios Disaster is an insightful story about mental illness and missing a father. Linda Boström Knausgård manages to fill the rather monotonous hospital existence with a tension so powerful and poetic that one is actually quite taken by it and reads it without missing a single detail." --Kulturnyheterna SVT

"The Helios Disaster is a dense, tender, painful novel written in a prose which, always poetic, touches, shakes, and makes a mess." --Helsingborgs Dagblad

"Chosen for the unsentimental language of her portrayal of human existence on the border between a world distorted by psychosis and reality's structured existence. Her stories are written according to the logic of myths, never asking why, but allowing an understanding of ourselves that is difficult to be determined in the dominant categories."--Jury, Mare Kandre Prize