Kallocain (book review) Karin Boye,

Gustaf Lannestock (Translator), Richard B. Vowles (Introduction)


270315: bleak, believable, banal, beautiful- best dystopia of which i had never heard, written by a woman poet. some reviews characterize Kallocain (1940) as kind of a Swedish 1984(1948) or Brave New World (1932), but i suggest the lineage more fruitfully explored is We by Zamyatin (1921). this is a lyrical, poetic, rather mundane world without either the melodramatic oppression, the great names, the obvious powers of orwell's book- ministry of truth, thought police etc.- or the conspiracy of intellectual powers, seductive technology, behaviourism of BNW, this world, this worldstate, seems more plausible, more human, more philosophical. partly because there is no big reveal, no real, identifiable, irresistible powers- only surveillance, informing, group psychology, personal ambitions and emotions radically redirected to the worldstate. when the narrator is less than heroic, when his truth is often revealed accidentally, rather than confessed, and the truth of love is the final private sense of humanity... when this goes under to the power of kallocain truth serum... are we human anymore...?

8 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

140718: this is read 3 times. this is the book that made his name. it has been translated but i do not know how: a lot of the pleasure is in the voice, the unique version of Nigerian english used, per

if you like this review, i now have website: www.michaelkamakana.com 220611: this is probably the most academically accurate of the translations I have read of this book, but still prefer commentary o

Victor H. Mair (Translator) 220322: have decided to read various translations i have of this text, not that the renderings are necessarily much different but to read accompanying texts, in this case n