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3.80  ·  Rating details ·  1,566 ratings  ·  330 reviews
A surreal and shockingly original debut novel set in a dystopian world shaped by language--literally.

Vanja, a government worker, leaves her home city of Essre for the austere, wintry colony of Amatka on a research assignment. It takes some adjusting: people act differently in Amatka, and citizens are monitored for signs of subversion.

Intending to stay just a short while, V
Hardcover, 1, 224 pages
Published September 6th 2012 by Mix Förlag (first published January 1st 2012)
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Kari The version I read said that the author translated it herself.

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3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,566 ratings  ·  330 reviews

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Jul 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, dystopia, sci-fi
That was weird. Seriously weird, but oddly fascinating, but with an ending I found unsatisfying. My thoughts are all over the place for this one, so here they are first in list format and then a bit more elaborated.

World building


Set in the not specified future on a (I assume) different planet, this books reads very much like a classic dystopian novel in the style of Ray Bradbury or George Orwell. The main character, Vanja, arrives in Amatka
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
A trippy, hopelessly empty-ish world populated with people seemingly shambling through their lives without purpose and, mostly, dignity. They get words and goop, if they misuse the words.

Very reminding of Zamuatin's We, of Orwell's 1984. Though, this one was libeerally sprinkled with feminist and diversity vibes. And, it felt a lot more depressing than the prototypes. I sort of want to unread this novel. Sadly, I can't.

Is there something behind the gray of our sky? (c)
I’m thinking I might ta
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This one is a hard one to review without giving away certain discoverable plot twists except to say... what a surreal, surreal world.

I think it's a mild New Strange. Or perhaps it's a hardcore Magical Realism. Perhaps it's just a study in what it means to use imagination when surrounded by literalism. Maybe it's a whole society built on the necessity of crushing that imagination in all ways. Maybe it's a necessity. And maybe we're in bizarro commune land brushing its fingertips against 1984.

Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tatiana by: Catie
I didn't think I would like another dystopia any time soon, but here I am. This was pretty good.

I am not surprised to learn this novel was written by a Swedish writer, because the basis of this story is deeply rooted in the pipe dream of perfect socialism, you know, total gender and class equality and adherence to group needs at the expense of individual. I am not trying to disparage Scandinavian socialism, I am all for it. The dystopia of this world is the theoretical socialism, the type I per
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
People often conflate pity with sympathy. Both words may refer, superficially, to a feeling of compassion for another’s misfortune; contextually, they can have radically different uses. Sympathy more often carries with it some notion of equity – it asks that compassion be born of justness, that understanding is earned because it is shared. Conversely, pity holds a note of condescension from the pitying, and a certain amount of solicitousness on the part of the pitied. Sympathy is meant to streng ...more
Emily May
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dystopia-utopia, 2019
So I thought this was excellent but I'm not sure how widely I'd recommend it. It's a quiet, odd, unsettling dystopian novel - my first from Swedish author Karin Tidbeck - that opens up more questions than it answers. Pair this with the ambiguous ending and I can easily see why some readers might feel dissatisfied.

I actually really liked it, though. I found it an extremely atmospheric novel-- the greyness, the loneliness, the constant sense of wrongness about everything. On the back of the Vintag
Jessica Woodbury
This was my first exposure to Tidbeck. I knew nothing about her or the book before I started it. I had just gone on vacation and when I realized I was reading something rather bleak and Scandinavian I almost put it down. It didn't seem like the right fit. But there was just enough weirdness in those early chapters to get me to stick around.

Dystopia is popular these days, and this is certainly a speculative dystopia. But I enjoyed it immensely. While reading it I kept commenting about it to my tr
Nov 28, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reto-2016
Escrita antes de ese auténtico descubrimiento que fue para mí Jagannath, Amatka es la primera novela de Karin Tidbeck, una novela mucho mejor ideada que resuelta. Por lo que he podido comprobar hasta el momento, la autora sueca se desenvuelve mejor en el terreno de las historias cortas, siendo Amatka un intento más bien frustrado de llevar a buen puerto una idea estupenda y repleta de posibilidades. La historia arranca con una mujer que se dirige en tren a la colonia de Amatka desde otra poblaci ...more
Aslı Can
Karin Tidbeck'in öykü kitabı Zeplin'i çok sevmiştim. Aklıma fazlasıyla kazınan birkaç imgeyi hala taşıyorum. Biri benden öykü anlatmamı istediğinde, hala Zeplin'deki öyküleri anlatıyorum aklımda kalanlarla. Büyük beklenti ve heveslerle başladım Amatka'ya.

Amatka bir distopya. Ben de geçtiğim süreçte çok fazla ütopya ve distopya okuduğum için biraz bezmiştim, bunun burukluğu da vardı aslında. Ama Karin Tidbeck bana çok güzel bir distopya okuttu. Kurduğu evrene, tahayyül gücüne hayran kaldım bir ke
Libros Prohibidos
Con un estilo limpio y eficaz, basado en la acción (apenas se describe nada), Karin Tidbeck construye una novela que se puede beber de un trago, que se lee con la misma atención con la que uno caminaría por una selva que no conoce y en la que no puede prever absolutamente nada. Reseña completa:
Vít Kotačka
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nordic, dystopia
Už povídková sbírka Sobí hora dávala tušit, že sledovat Karin Tidbeck nemusí být od věci. Zjistil jsem si, co dalšího autorka napsala a hned další na ráně byla novela Amatka, tehdy ještě nedostupná v češtině; a začal jsem se těšit. Voilà, střih a je to tady!

Amatka je exemplární příklad dystopického příběhu. Je to výborně napsané a originální. A i když se vám při čtení budou vybavovat ozvuky různých jiných literárních dystopií a postupně v závěru i sci-fi (hlavně Solaris a Annihilation), pořád je
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of classic dystopias and/or Jeff VanderMeer
As I listed in the "I would recommend to" section: Like classic dystopias and/or Jeff VanderMeer's works, particularly the Area X trilogy? It's perfect for readers who are intrigued by the idea of the unlikely intersection of that particular venn diagram. The weirdness seeps in drip by drip, building significantly in the final chapters, until all semblance of normalcy (quite literally) dissolves.

The very end was, for me, a bit anti-climactic, but just as with VanderMeer's Annihilation, the ambig
After reading Jagannath by Karin Tidbeck years ago, I knew I wanted to read anything of hers published in English. It's still one of my favorite short story collections. I believe Amatka is the only other of her works published in the U.S., though I could be wrong.

Amatka is both similar and different than Tidbeck's short stories. It has the same subtlety, the same unique world building, and the same ambiguous ending (which I loved). I missed out on the lyricism of Tidbeck's short stories, and I
Jessica Sullivan
Aug 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
The kind of book where I had no idea what I'd be rating it until the very end. It's completely readable and thought provoking, but with a story like this, so much depends on how it all comes together.

Amatka takes place in a mysterious future world where the very fabric of reality is constantly at risk of being destroyed. The inhabits of the four colonies that make up this world are taught from an early age that they must consistently "mark" objects in order to keep them rooted in reality. They d
Listed as sci-fi, Amatka is more of a dystopian novel. I know that this book got good reviews but the beginning of the story seemed weak to me; it was slow to reveal the plot or substance of the story. The 'weakness' seemed to permeate this story.

Life is made up of colonies - each colony has a purpose or job. Vanja, from Essre where they manufacture items necessary for life, goes to Amatka for surveys or personal hygiene to take back to the manufacturing company where she works. This was oddbal
Sara Mazzoni
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ho comprato subito Amatka quando è uscito perché seguivo Karin Tidbeck con grande interesse già da qualche anno. L’ho conosciuta grazie all’antologia Nuovi incubi di Laird Barron e Michael Kelly, tradotta dalle sempre ottime Edizioni Hypnos, che sono così state le prime a pubblicare Tidbeck in italiano. Poi ho recuperato due racconti in inglese, Sing e Listen, e infine è uscita la traduzione italiana delle Produzioni Nero dell’antologia Le visionarie, di Ann e Jeff VanderMeer, che contiene un al ...more
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Švédska autorka, ktorú som našla medzi odporúčanými sci-fi novinkami na konci minulého roku. Pripomína mi LeGuinovej svet, kde pomenovaním veci zhmotníte, ak poznáte pôvodné meno, máte nad ním kontrolu. No tu, na inej planéte, kde je len päť kolónií (Amatka je jednou z nich), sa veci, ktoré nikto nenazve a prestanú sa pomenúvať, tak sa rozpadnú, zhnijú, zmenia na sliz... Ich zriadenie pochádza z myšlienok komúny, deti sa vychovávajú v detskom dome a treba stále hľadieť vpred a byť organizovaní, ...more
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-casa
Cuando en las sinopsis y las reviews que ves se menciona en la primera frase "es una distopía clásica", o bien es un libro muy simple enmarcado en el género y por tanto sin aportes nuevos, o más bien quieres definir algo con pocas palabras para esconder gran parte del argumento interior.
Esta historia es lo segundo.

Se te encoge el alma, quizás al nivel de Annihilation de Jeff Vandermeer.
No sé si yo también califico esta historia de "prosa sin excesos retóricos, sin metáforas, etc", pero sí te pue
Marie Háková
Jan 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Řemeslně ok postapo podle poměrně klasické moderní šablony. Zajímavý nápad, ale nevytěžený, s vysloveně "došlo mi palivo" závěrem.
Bill Hsu
So far, very different from the slippery, sparkly hairballs of Jagannath. The role of language is still strange and intriguing; but with Amatka's overt science fiction-y conventions, I fear everything mysterious and wonderful will be overexplained soon enough. The pace is also a bit on the plodding side.

Update: I love the central concept. But we do ooze slowly to the climactic events.
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Doooode. This was strange. And amazing. Just plopped me right down into the story with no back history, no world-building, just boom here is this new plot line and this is just how stuff is.

This is the second Swedish dystopia I've read and damn, it's got a specific aesthetic. Definitely born of specific setting in nature and specific culture and government.
Mur Lafferty
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zase jedna kniha o důležitosti slov. A paní Tidbeck umí se slovy opravdu mistrně zacházet a stvořila z nich velmi zvláštní a zajímavý svět. Navíc umí zacházet i se čtenářem. Vrhla mě do toho svého světa bez jakýchkoliv informací či vysvětlení a poraď si. Ale vážně mě bavilo postupné odkrývání organizace té společnosti s jakýmsi tajemstvím na pozadí. Jen ten konec přišel trochu moc brzy a byl takový uspěchaný.
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
(Maybe 3.5? Or 4?)

I liked the gentle rise of the tension; you get the sense that something is going wrong, or has gone wrong, or will go wrong...reveals are satisfying and just-enough.

I imagined some sort of cross between scandi neutrals and threadbare dystopia. It's an interesting portrayal, and there are some truly haunting details, but spoilers.

Minus a bit for Nina's flatness/awkward dialogue...and still figuring out that ending, which seemed to come on a bit suddenly?
Apr 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sweden

Vanja (fullständigt NAMN: Brilars Vanja Essre Två) kommer med TÅG till STADEN Amatka, längst ut vid KANTEN av civilisationen. Hennes SYSSELSÄTTNING där är att prata med MEDBORGARE för att undersöka intresset för HYGIENPRODUKTER från det något rikare Essre, där man specialiserat sig på sådant.

Hon märker Amatka: en GRUVA, en kall och gråskitig STAD bebodd av MEDBORGARE som lever på SVAMP, GRÖT och SPRIT. Där måste ju finnas EFTERFRÅGAN på HYGIENPRODUKTER. Bortom dem finns ju bara INTET, ända
Kathy Cunningham
Karin Tidbeck’s AMATKA is a dystopian fantasy about the nature of reality and how it can be shaped with language. That sounds a bit weird, and this novel is definitely that, but it’s also deeply compelling, truly chilling, and eerily relatable. The story centers on a young woman named Brilars’ Vanja Essre Two (“Brilars” identifies Vanja’s parents as Britta and Lars, “Essre” is the colony in which she was born, and “Two” indicates where she stands in the birth order). Vanja has come from Essre to ...more
Joy Clark
Language. It shapes our thoughts, emotions, experiences, and even our brain development. Amakta is a part-fantasy, part-science fiction, allegory of the impact of language on society. I can't be much more specific than that without giving too much away. In a nutshell, Amatka is a colony in an unknown land. Objects must be continuously "marked" or they lose their shape. I know, sounds a bit far-fetched, and aspects of this novel are exactly that, but the allegorical aspects are spot-on. I thoro ...more
La La - Everyone's Crazy Aunt
I was in love with this book. It was strange, it had a mysterious tone to it that made me not want to put it down. It was a smooth read and it had LGBTQ and mental health elements. It also made some sociopolitical statements, and you all know how I adore those. So what happened? The ending happened.

The author led me by the hand thorough the strange and the mysterious, and I was constanly wondering if the ending was going to make it SciFi or Fantasy because I could not tell. She intrigued me with
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“Chyběla jim obloha starého světa. Stýskalo se jim po světle. Tolik o tom mluvili, že nakonec se skutečně něco objevilo: slunce, rozžhavená koule, která se zjevila na obloze a spálila kolonii na uhel. Takový už je svět, ve kterém žijeme, vysvětlil jim učitel Jonas. Slova je potřeba střežit. Občan, který nestřeží svá slova, může přivodit zkázu komuny.” 0 likes
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