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Swallowed by the Cold: Stories

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  135 ratings  ·  29 reviews
The intricate, interlocking stories of Jensen Beach's extraordinarily poised story collection are set in a Swedish village on the Baltic Sea as well as in Stockholm over the course of two eventful years.

In Swallowed by the Cold, people are besieged and haunted by disasters both personal and national: a fatal cycling accident, a drowned mother, a fire on a ferry, a
Paperback, 176 pages
Published May 17th 2016 by Graywolf Press (first published August 24th 2015)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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Aaron Burch
Feb 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kinda like if Alice Munro wrote a linked "What We Talked About..." story collection set in Sweden? Maybe? Unless that doesn't sound good, then not like that at all.
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
From Graywolf Press comes this second collection by author Jensen Beach. Though Beach hails from (appropriately enough) California, the stories in this collection all take place in Sweden, where Beach briefly lived.

In its way, Swallowed by the Cold mimics the design of Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio. Although there is no central character who shows up in many stories (George Willard-like), many of the characters we meet in one story surface again in another--frequently seen this time from
Jensen Beach is a masterful writer- from a technical standpoint. The language is exquisite and sparse, sentences an phrases are perfectly constructed. But his characters in this collection are tepid, unlikeable, and difficult to care about or cultivate an interest in
Susan Ritz
Apr 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beach's stories are some of the best I've read. Set in Sweden, these linked short stories delve deeply into the relationships between men and women, particularly husbands and wives. I feel like I've been wandering around in the skin of his characters because he does such a great job depicting inner turmoil, self-doubt, resentment, attraction, repulsion, and pretty much every emotion adults encounter as they navigate they way through the rocky shoals of marriage and intimate relationships.
Sep 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
funnily enough i read this for a one-credit class on book reviewing. i'm not going to irradiate you with the actual review i wrote, but: lovely control, careful clean prose, but a really sour and sad vibe draped over a cast of unlikeable characters like shitty tinsel. it's new yorker fiction in a k hole. actually no it's not even that weird. fair play to the craft but this is not my cup of tea or any type of beverage.
Kevin Maloney
Apr 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Swallowed by the Cold takes place in a fjord dreamscape of whiskey, secrets, and accidental death. The structure of the collection loops back on itself, so the stories don't so much end as continue with new narrators and different perspectives. Beach is a narrative wizard. Can't recommend it highly enough.
Kasa Cotugno
Fine collection of linked stories, this time located in Sweden, proving once again that thanks to globalization, people in today's world are facing the same challenges.
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 21, 2018 rated it liked it
It’s very uncharacteristic of me to hastily purchase a book from a bookstore shelf. This book is a good example of the reason I shouldn’t.
First the positive. The chapters are separate stories that are all linked in one way or another and the reader can appreciate the variety. The stories are decent but don’t always have a good conclusion or plot. I felt personally that I could connect with the characters, but not due to a good character development. The reader will inevitably feel as though
Linda C
The stories in this collection are all loosely connected. Many revolve around a tragedy of some kind or its effect on people at the moment of the tragedy or memories of it later. Some stories ended abruptly without resolution and others answered the questions left by the earlier story but from a different perspective. Mixed bag for me.
Ben Brackett
Jan 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Some really great moments in this, and the stories all related together nicely.
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
In case you need a reminder that humans are pathetic, fickle mortals.
Jonathan Tennis
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beach’s characters are all suffering from something but they do so in such a beautifully haunting way that they come to life in this collection of short stories. Really enjoyed this book.
Gin Ferrara
Sep 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful, rich, careful stories of people encountering everyday tragedies and disappointments, and moving through them. I read this in a heat wave, yet felt the cold in my bones.

Beach interweaves his characters gently, making their relationships seem natural between the stories. Though dark, in many there is a moment of hope, or grace, very human moments where we can see ourselves more truly.
Jun 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm in two minds about reading short stories. On the one hand, if I don't love it, then it will soon be over; but if I enjoy it, i'm left wanting more, wanting to know what happened next. That's where this collection of short stories by Jensen Beach was great in that the stories or characters often connected, intertwined or overlapped and gave you a sense of completion or totality that would otherwise be missing.

Memorable Quotes
"He knew that he would be unable to keep himself away from her. She
Jackie Rogers
May 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Mr Beaches stories are about life and death. About marriage and infidelity. About the desperation of the human not knowing what they are doing nor why. The characters are interconnected and the stories merge. Have been drawn to this novel foe awhile and finally picked it up yesterday. Am so glad I did. Loved the writing and look forward to more of Jensen Beach. Thanx to Goodreads.
Nov 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was completely engrossed in this collection from the start. I loved the Scandinavian backdrop and the characters that made their way in and out of the set of stories. Best story collection I've read this year, hands down.
May 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways, 2016
*I received this book for free through Goodreads giveaways*

Swallowed by the Cold is a beautiful collection of short stories. I thoroughly enjoyed Beach's writing. The stories are connected, and each adds a new layer to the growing overall picture.
May 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is an elegantly engaging book. The links between the pieces are intriguing, providing the depth to wonder at the story itself as well as the relationship to the whole. Very moving, human. Beach is definitely a talented writer.
Jan 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"The ship was remarkable in size, but only because it was indoors and so old."
Sep 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Luminous stories of Scandinavian death, betrayal, longing, aging, ineptitude. Not one admirable character, but I loved them all.
Michael Credico
rated it really liked it
Aug 08, 2016
Hilary Hudgins
rated it liked it
Aug 18, 2018
Coleen Kearon
rated it really liked it
Jul 10, 2018
rated it it was amazing
Apr 20, 2017
Joe Stanek
rated it really liked it
Oct 05, 2017
Aug 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Bettie, Wanda
You may read online here.

Opening lines:
Louise knew by the new name on the call box that someone had moved in. She’d seen lights and movement in the apartment, which was across the courtyard from her and Martin, for the past few days. The new name confirmed it. Someone had finally bought the place. The name had been typed on a small piece of green paper and taped to the call box beside the apartment’s number. Louise had once known a man with the name Jahani.
Aug 29, 2015 marked it as to-read
Recommended to Bettie by: Laura
Jun 21, 2017 rated it liked it

Her speaking to Sara was surreal and kinda ruined it for me. The sentiment of the story was so subtle that her visit to the newcomer was totally out of character (no matter how drunk she was) and made me cringe. The ending was awkward too. The flow is not right.

While I guessed Arman was her lover's first name, it was very confusing when it first appeared and good writing should never sacrifice clear meaning for creating a fictitious mystery. But I liked the general idea of the story
Andy Balicki
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
I’m surprised this was selected for The New Yorker. It’s an interesting concept and central metaphor, but the ending chooses melodrama over honesty. I think there’s a gem here, but it’s clouded.
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Play Book Tag: Swallowed by the Cold: stories – Jensen Beach - 3 stars 1 6 Oct 25, 2019 08:08AM  

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Jensen Beach is the author of two story collections, most recently SWALLOWED BY THE COLD (Graywolf). He holds an MFA in fiction from the Program for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, as well as an MA and BA in English from Stockholm University. He teaches in the BFA program at Johnson State College, where he is the fiction editor at Green Mountains Review. He’s also a ...more