Jo is in a strange new country for university and having a more peculiar time than most. In a house with no walls, shared with a woman who has no boundaries, she finds her strange home coming to life in unimaginable ways. Jo's sensitivity and all her senses become increasingly heightened and fraught, as the lines between bodies and plants, dreaming and wakefulness, blur and mesh.
This debut novel from critically acclaimed artist and musician Jenny Hval presents a heady and hyper-sensual portrayal of sexual awakening and queer desire.
Publisher: Verso Books
Number of pages: 160
Weight: 197 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 12 mm
In Paradise Rot, Jenny Hval creates a parallel world that's familiar but subtly skewed. As intriguing and impressive a novelist as she is a musician, Hval is a master of quiet horror and wonder.
Hval is an expert at creating and sustaining atmospherics across genres, and Paradise Rot is no exception. Paradise Rot is an odd microcosm inside an ordinary world.. It is, in many ways, a novel about finding and then choosing a self; it also shows the pull of unexpected queer desire and the dismantling of boundaries that draw requires. But most of all, in the way that a microscope reveals an unsettling truth about the familiar (that it's teeming with life you never expected), Paradise Rot is hard to forget.
Hval's curiosity is more than simple pleasure in perversity: It's meant to defile the idea of women's bodies as pristine and plush. and reshape it into something more dreadfully real. Maybe more revolutionary than that transfiguration is her disemboweling of desire itself, unraveling it to its fearsome, primal state, and exploring the strangeness of how sexuality can alienate one from oneself; how feelings of mistrust come about when desire is new, queer and unreliable.
With the release of the newly translated Paradise Rot, we can experience her artistic evolution beyond the shape of a timeline, as a series of challenging examinations melting and bending in on themselves... Listening to-or now reading-her work feels like getting jettisoned into an underwater reality that fantastically mirrors our own. It would be entirely terrifying, if exploring it weren't so much fun.
Hval's words shock precisely because they're not referring to sex or desire but instead address vulnerability and nurturing . Hval's world is radically different: an intimate, often mysterious place where the melodic sophistication of Björk and Kate Bush meets Laurie Anderson's witty cool.
As with all her work, she finds new ways to provoke, and new parts of your brain to light up.
Norwegian artist Jenny Hval presents a version of female sexuality in which carnal impulses, anxieties and the female/male perspective are often knotted together.
Every page of Paradise Rot contains something in it that burrows deep inside you. Much like Hval's musical output, the book is almost uncomfortably intimate, the kind of penetrating encounter that will make you uncontrollably shudder as your body is plunged into the sensory world that Hval has created. It's an uncanny and yet deeply moving reading experience, one that Hval uses to explore the complexities of queer desire and human enmeshment in our physical surroundings.
Strange and lyrical . Hval's writing is surreal and rich with the grotesque banalities of human existence.
The themes of alienation, queerness, and the unsettling nature of desire align Hval with modern mainstays like Chris Kraus, Ottessa Moshfegh, and Maggie Nelson.
Hval's surreal debut riffs on the same layered intricacies as her music, transcending simple categorisation to create a dreamy landscape both separate and a part of what we recognise as reality.
Brief but wild.
A sensual, putrid reimagining of the original sin that explores the dynamics between two young women . [a] striking debut novel . To read Paradise Rot is to inhabit one of Hval's eerie, theory-conscious soundscapes. As in a dream, the closeness of this world to our own and its simultaneous uncanny otherness, awash with potent symbolism, leaves us looking at everything anew. It took nine years to be translated into English; I only hope we needn't wait so long for the two other books, already published in Norwegian, from this talented polymath
Hval's writing is hyper-sensual and poetic.
Corrosive, liquefactive, poetic: these are amongthe erotic modalities explored in a novel where paradise is aburgeoning swamp inhabited by two desirous Eves. Art, literature, and life ceaselessly affirm the intimate linkage ofsex and death, and it is in light of this connection that Hval'sevocations of rot take on their full amplitude-for the breakdown of form and structure (psychological, bodily, social, andinstitutional) corresponds to the blooming effulgence of decaythat constitutes this book's imagination of earthly paradise.
A lurid hothouse of a thriller about a female student's sexual awakening