Loran's Reviews > A Sudden Liberating Thought

A Sudden Liberating Thought by Kjell Askildsen
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's review
Feb 02, 2008

it was amazing
Read in March, 2001

Askildsen is a veritable and relatively unsung master of the less-is-more principle. Reputedly, he would take years to complete a short story or vingette, often laboring over a single sentence for days on end.

A Sudden Libterating Thought, slightly difficult to locate, since it's shamefully out of print, is a wonderful introduction to his work, which would be modest in size but for its enormous import. It includes what I consider to be his finest material, "Thomas F's Last Notes to the General Public," which was written from the author's imagined perspective as an old man of 90 or so. Each vingette is no more than two short pages, often less, and each are so focused, profound, lucid, penetrating, clean and concise as to lay waste to scores of novels, in retrospect. Kjell can say in a few well-considered phrases what it takes someone like Miller 50 pages to drum out, and with more poise, certainty and resonance. In fact, that is the best word for Kjell's work: Resonance. I've never read an author with a better command of it.
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