Jaeggy, a master of the short form, again creates something unforgettable with these otherworldly stories ... Told in Jaeggy’s characteristically jagged prose, these dark stories of madness, loss and murder are urgent and evocative. Central to each are surreal images reminiscent of paintings by Leonora Carrington or Max Ernst: 'her hands, like the claws of a crustacean, clutched at a little mound of dust.' This is an intensely beautiful and original collection that bristles with a strange and often disturbing magic.
The first, I Am the Brother of XX, is a collection of stories, monologues and memoir, less cohesive than her previous books but with the same stark, surprising prose, here translated by Gini Alhadeff. These are grim tales, often violent ... Yet even in these softer, melancholic pieces, darkness seems never far away, and literally isn’t, since much of the book is filled with tales of death and madness ... It is also filled, to an uncanny degree, with actual portraits ... For Jaeggy, a painting or photograph is a doorway to the dead, and entering through it involves existential risk.
Jaeggy is a master of the short form; her essays are charged with a nearly combustible vitality, her stories without fail are compact and devastating. Long after the pleasure of reading is over, their little hooks tug at — what is it, the heart or the mind ... Most importantly, Jaeggy’s prose is superb (and as superbly translated) as ever, her characteristic desolation as self-possessed as it is recherché,