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Paradise Rot

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  4,109 ratings  ·  742 reviews
A lyrical debut novel from a musician and artist renowned for her sharp sexual and political imagery

Jo is in a strange new country for university, and having a more peculiar time than most. A house with no walls, a roommate with no boundaries, and a home that seems ever more alive. Jo’s sensitivity, and all her senses, become increasingly heightened and fraught, as the lin
Paperback, 148 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by Verso (first published 2009)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,109 ratings  ·  742 reviews

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Oct 19, 2021 marked it as will-not-finish
honestly not as much piss as i expected. dnf @ 83%
Erik Carter
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
lots of piss, loved it
Decay is a common theme in literature. Writers often represent collapsing relationships, festering societies, and crumbling morals with mold, soot, and slime. And we all feel the rot as we read the news, see the contradictions of modern life swirl around us. But what if reading a novel felt like watching a crisp apple dissolve into putrid, yet sweet-smelling compost? Jenny Hval's Paradise Rot is a timely warning that the desire to decay is seductive – and dangerous.

Two women, Joanna, a Norwegian
Nov 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
the feminine urge to rot away
Dannii Elle
This was... bizarre? Insightful? Clever? Feminist? Fantastical? I'm not sure, but I think I liked it.

Joanna has travelled from Norway to attend university in a small Australian town. She finds the people, the attitudes, the soft stodgy foods, and the town itself so different from anything she has ever known before. It is other to her but she, with her serious attitudes and quiet demeanour, is other to it and everyone else around her.

Carral is in temporary employment and looking for a roommate t
Mieke Fairhurst
Sep 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: at-home
yes, i read the reviews. the amount of piss still surprised me.
Jun 13, 2021 rated it liked it
bisexual pee book
Sep 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Addresses the classic lesbian concerns of devouring men, merging, and watersports.
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
A psychedelic biological bisexual allegory ~ moist fantasy
james ☆
Jun 15, 2021 rated it did not like it
reading this felt like having one of those weird ass half dreams as you're trying to fall asleep that you aren't sure is real or not ...more
Oct 19, 2018 rated it liked it
some really beautiful writing but personally didn’t love the plot line - i went in expecting queer horror and didn’t feel like i exactly got it, or in the way i was hoping for. very cool premise and hval’s writing is as dreamy as her music.
Feb 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
books you can smell
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Garni Assadourian
Aug 03, 2020 rated it liked it
literary equivalent of 99% humidity and no rain
Sep 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I think I should mention that I have a fever right now, and I'm only 80% sure that this book wasn't a fever dream. ...more
Mar 07, 2022 rated it really liked it
Gotta pee now
May 11, 2022 rated it liked it
Shelves: recs
Girls will say “i know a place” and take you to an old brewery covered in piss and rot. that’s romance!
May 21, 2022 rated it it was amazing
the feminine urge to rot into a forbidden fruit (and lots of pee)
Mar 18, 2022 rated it really liked it
3.5 - an unnecessary amount of pee metaphors

ÉDIT: changing my rating to a 4.5, i cant stop thinking abt this book
i’m completely obsessed. it was dark, gross, grimy, wet, and oh so confusing. but it was so good. if you liked bunny and want something similar but i little grimier, read this. ✨🌹
Iris ☽
Jul 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fever-dream
upgrading to 5 stars because it’s been two months and i’ve not stopped thinking about this book!
possibly one of the best “wtf did i just read“ type of books
May 28, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Paradise Rot tells the story of Jo, a young Norwegian woman who moves to a small town in the United Kingdom to study biology. She moves in with quiet and mysterious older girl named Carral, who lives in a strange renovated old brewery.

This little book was so incredibly bizarre, I loved it. I saw a review that simply just said “Books you can smell,” and that is very accurate. It's a book that has a moist, damp feel to it. Something you find buried in the moss in a forest after rainfall. What’s th
Ryan Mangione
Aug 24, 2020 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this much less than I expected to/wanted to. Bummer, cause her music by comparison rules and has such a strong grasp on imagery and tact. The writing is clear and well paced, and the general premise is fairly interesting, but the metaphorical work and delivery felt pretty heavy handed and tactless - it seemed like Hval’s attempt to carve out a unique style betrayed what should have otherwise been a really great book. At any rate, for a book advertised as a surreal and psychedelic explo ...more
Jessica Fear
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
I found this book underwhelming. Sensual imagery can be used really effectively to convey erotic feeling (go read Call Me By Your Name if you haven’t already), but that is not the case here. I just don’t think this was a convincing story; I didn’t believe in the main character or her sexual fantasies or her living situation.

Just “Meh.”
Lucy Vari
Nov 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A feminist exploration of queer desire and transformational yet confusing life experience through vivid, surreal imagery, religious allegory, and strong evocation of the abject. The metaphor is incredibly unsubtle but well-executed at the same time. I think it's strange and wonderful! ...more
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, favorites
A feverish, compelling story that obsesses over rotting and decaying life (literally and figuratively). It was so weird and I loved it.
Janie McRae
Feb 24, 2022 rated it liked it
i was so so excited to read this book—on paper it seemed like it was perfect for me, queer female horror—but it just didn’t have the punch i wanted it to. instead of being grotesque in a biting and snappy way, it was grotesque in a sticky moist gross urine way and i didn’t really… enjoy it. some of the prose i found quite beautiful, but i never reached the point where i was enraptured or even the point where i cared what happened. maybe i need to reread it through a different lens or while in a ...more
Abbie | ab_reads
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you're a lover of weird fiction then you need to add Paradise Rot to your TBR! Translated from the Norwegian by Marjam Idriss, this book sees Jo move to a new country for university where she moves into an open-plan flat with a slightly older woman. Decay ensues.
It's hard to put into words exactly why I enjoyed this one so much. It's gross. Some adjectives that spring to mind are leaky, slimy, sticky, putrid, decomposed, damp, acrid... That should give you enough of a picture! And yet Hval's
Nov 06, 2018 rated it liked it
I just sat down to write a review for Jenny Hval's Paradise Rot (translated by Marjam Idriss; the first of Hval's books which has been translated into English but I am a bit at loss. The novel is about Jo, who moves to the UK to study, and moves into a slightly creepy older building with a roommate who is of the boundaries-overstepping kind - which is reinforced by the fact that their flat has got almost no walls. The blurb says: "Jo’s sensitivity and all her senses become increasingly heightene ...more
Seth Austin
Oct 31, 2021 rated it liked it
Paradise Rot passed me by in a haze, which I suspect may have been - at least in part - the author's intent. Hval is clearly interested in exploring the ontological foundation of this fungal world, but she seems to prioritise the aesthetic elements over all else. The result is a visually brilliant but vacuous story, that ends with as little certainty as it began. While I enjoyed her comfort with provocation, her antagonism of potentially squeamish readers seems to be a pointless exercise, as tho ...more
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Jenny Hval (f. 1980) er bosatt i Oslo og har skrivekunstutdanning fra The University of Melbourne. Hun har gitt ut to musikkalbum under navnet Rockettothesky, og et under eget navn. Hun har publisert skjønnlitterære tekster og essays i tidsskrifter og antologiene Ferskvare og Pilot. Jenny Hval er redaksjonsmedlem i Vinduet. Hun ble i 2010 kåret til en av Norges mest nyskapende kunstnere. Perlebryg ...more

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“Her skin was soft, softer than I remembered, as if she was rotten too, a fallen Eve. Under us I could hear the apples rumble. Not a real sound, but a sort of internal buzzing, like how you can imagine hearing nails and hair growing or buds opening.” 4 likes
“I’ll finish your fairy tale. You forgot to mention the snake. In the story the apple poisons the snake, and Eve packs her books and moves out of paradise. The End.” 1 likes
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