The Singularity

Balsam Karam


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Fitzcarraldo Editions
17 January 2024
ISBN: 9781804270813
194 pages

From the publisher

Translated by Saskia Vogel

In an unnamed coastal city home to many refugees, a mother of a displaced family searches for her child, calling her name as she wanders along the cliffside road where her daughter used to work. She searches and searches until, devoid of hope and frantic with grief, she throws herself into the sea, leaving her other children behind. Bearing witness to this suicide is another woman – on a business trip from a distant country, with a swollen belly that later gives birth to a stillborn baby. In the wake of her pain, the second woman remembers her own litany of losses – of a language, a country, an identity – when once her family fled a distant war. Weaving between both narratives and written in looping prose rich with meaning, The Singularity is an astounding study of grief, migration and motherhood from one of Sweden's most exciting new writers.

‘Lyrical, devastating and completely original, The Singularity is a work of extraordinary vision and heart. Balsam Karam’s writing is formally inventive and stylistically breathtaking, and Saskia Vogel's translation does shining justice to its poetic precision and depths.’
— Preti Taneja, author of Aftermath

‘I don’t know anyone who writes like Balsam Karam. She blows me away. Truly one of the most original and extraordinary voices to come out of Scandinavia in... forever. You’ll realize twenty minutes after you’ve finished this book that you’re still sitting there, holding on to it.’
— Fredrik Backman, author of A Man Called Ove

The Singularity by Balsam Karam is a novel about loss and longing—a mother who misses her child, children who miss their mother, and all of those who miss their country as they try to feel the new earth in their new land. A deeply moving work of fiction from a true voice of Scandinavia.’
— Shahrnush Parsipur, author of Women Without Men: A Novel of Modern Iran

‘Balsam Karam writes at the limits of narrative, limning the boundary of loss where “no space remains between bodies in the singularity”. With a lucid intimacy, Karam braids a story of witness and motherhood that fractures from within only to rebuild memory and home on its own terms. The Singularity is a book of conviction where those who have been made to disappear find light and keep their secrets too.’
— Shazia Hafiz Ramji, author of Port of Being

‘Astringent, fuguelike.... A knotty, sui generis evocation of mothers’ feelings of fear and loss.’
— Kirkus

‘To read The Singularity is like drinking directly from a flood of tears.’
— Aftonbladet

The Singularity is a novel that appears to have been created from dark matter, elusive, giddying and with an enormous linguistic and narrative density.’
— Expressen

‘Balsam Karam’s language is entirely her own. It is poetic and suggestive.... The Singularity is a journey into a black hole. A point of no return.’
— Jönköpings-Posten

‘I cannot recall anyone else in contemporary Swedish literature who writes like Karam.’
— Svenska Dagbladet