If one were to combine the deadpan eeriness of Yorgos Lanthimos, the campy yet grotesque body horror of David Cronenberg, and the Dada-infused homoeroticism of William Burroughs, the end result would look something like After the Sun ... Although a translator’s credit usually doesn’t extend past the small font on a book’s interior title page, the complexity of Hellberg’s task will be clear to any who crack open After the Sun ... Often, the mark of a talented translator is their invisibility; a typical reader doesn’t stop to consider the process of translation until a word catches or grates. However, Eika’s idiom is peculiar and disarming by design. It doesn’t move with the rhythm of ordinary language, and it brims with non sequiturs and offbeat metaphors. The effect is bewitching, and a certain level of incoherence is intentional. It would be hard to replicate in any language ... Some fiction seeks to expand your perspective, but Eika shrinks your gaze, pulling it toward his subjects precisely in the moments when distance is most desirable. His writing is scarily intimate, drawing attention to the social atomization that is a defining feature of life in an advanced capitalist economy ... Eika doesn’t traffic in archetypes or employ recognizable character tropes. Readers who seek a mirror to their own experiences won’t find it in After the Sun, at least not in a direct sense. Each story operates with its own internal logic, so as a reader, you’ll find yourself immersed in worlds whose boundaries you’re unsure of ... Eika’s critiques of capitalism are nimble yet rigorous, never slipping into the rote jargon of social media, which can be hard for authors to avoid these days, even in fiction ... Dreamy, febrile and thoroughly twisted, After the Sun is a collection from an author who aims to confound perception through language and small distortions of reality ... The book often reads like poetry, and like poetry, attempting to extract meaning from any one sentence or stanza is not always possible. But what you’re left with are impressions, feelings that break through and haunt you. A bold debut from an author who understands the generative capacity of fiction, After the Sun is a glimpse into our brutal world through Eika’s slanted gaze.
... relentlessly thrilling. Many lasting, vibrant scenes involve literal penetration — yes, sexual, but also otherwise, ritualistic, say, or symbolic. And it’s the language, too, that pierces, thrills. The sentences in these stories stretch past the limits of the ordinary to the luridly extraordinary, and some moments feel as if they are breaking through to the sublime ... kudos to the translator, Sherilyn Nicolette Hellberg, who has managed to capture not just the meaningful absurdities but the energy of a writer determined to defamiliarize everyday usages of language ... Whittling the complexity of financial markets into vibrant prose seems as difficult as it is necessary, if art is going to reckon with the way we live now ... don’t think these stories simply satirize, or hold up a mirror. The majority of happenings in After the Sun are either distorted or utterly unrecognizable, a blend of science fiction and grotesquerie, an orgy of the unpredictable ... The stories are not flawless, and the achievements of stylistic originality, the shocks, often come at the expense of heartfelt connection with characters, but honestly, in this case, it’s more than a fair trade-off, to be pierced and thrilled again.
... reads a bit like Thomas Pynchon taking on late capitalism. The writing is surrealistic, granular in its details, and concerned with social entropy and desperate attempts at communion ... In a translation of unsettling intensity by Sherilyn Nicolette Hellberg, the stories derive much of their force from their insistence on transformation. Not only do the settings and characters abruptly alter, as in a dream, but the mood can instantly switch from light to dark.
Short story fans are spoiled for choice this month, but readers should still make time for Danish phenom Jonas Eika’s debut collection. Hopping both across the globe and genres, from Cancun to Copenhagen, the surreal to the hyperreal, each piece here unearths a new facet of the human condition, tying his disparate characters together as citizens in the increasingly confounding world of late capitalism. A major new international talent.
Set in a dystopian universe, the stories describe each character’s attempt to find meaning and intimacy as an antidote to loneliness and alienation. Eika’s ability to combine foreboding with magic realism generates excitement in this English-language debut.
Difficult and mesmerizing, the stories range from formally formidable to downright mind-melting in their creative disregard for convention ... It's Eika's ability to plunge readers headfirst into discomfort or even disgust and then prod for uncomfortable truths that elevates his brazenly weird fiction from crass pyrotechnics to legitimately rewarding puzzles ... Utterly brilliant and occasionally confounding, these strange stories catch like fishhooks into the reader's nervous system.
... startling ... Studded with shockingly visceral images, these lyrical stories are preoccupied with a sense of psychosexual loneliness that penetrates even the most absurd moments of escapism. Eika’s fusing of the magic realist mode with the alienation of modernity makes for a winning formula.