The Comic Queen of Metafiction

Gunnhild Øyehaug talks about her twisted new collection of short stories

Courtesy of FSG
Courtesy of FSG

In the world of Gunnhild Øyehaug’s fiction, the mechanics of the short story are constantly being pulled apart and played with: characters we’ve followed on a bus turn out to be the inventions of the narrator on page four; an omniscient “analysis department” argues with the author about the validity of a story ending; Baudelaire’s Flowers of Evil turn out to be real flowers growing by the side of the road and the cause of a woman’s broken foot. But the magic of Øyehaug’s latest collection, Evil Flowers, translated from Norwegian by Kari Dickson, is how these subversions still manage to awaken us to the wonder of real, ordinary, corporeal life, whether our main character is a loner searching for connection on a travel forum or a girl who turns everything she touches into slime eels.

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Stephanie Bastek is the senior editor of the Scholar and the producer/host of the Smarty Pants podcast.


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