Friday, May 7, 2021

Literary Sewing Circle: Finale & Project Round-Up


Today is already our final day of the Literary Sewing Circle focusing on Karin Tidbeck's Amatka!

I hope you've had the chance to read the book, and both the first and second inspiration posts, and are getting lots of ideas for a project of your own. If you haven't had a chance to read our interview with Karin Tidbeck, be sure to do that too, it adds a lot to the reading experience!

The project linkup will be added to the bottom of this post: as soon as you are done your project, just pop a link to your post into the linkup and we will all be able to visit your blog/instagram etc. and explore your creation -- remember, it can be sewn, or knitted, crocheted, embroidered... any textile art that you practice.

I shared a lot of my thoughts on the book in our earlier book talk post, and I reviewed this novel on my book blog when I first read it. You can explore those for some of my thoughts; today I'll share an overview of my impressions of this novel. I hope you will too!

I really enjoyed reading this for a second time. I found that my second reading allowed me to see a lot more of the subtleties in the story -- the small details that really flesh it out. And I also found the ending a bit more comprehensible this time around, since I knew what was coming! That allowed me to slow down and really look at the reactions of many of the characters, and get a feeling for what the return of Berols' Anna and her fellow rebels means for this new civilization. My own sense of the ending is a bit stronger after a second reading, although I think it is still really open to varied interpretations, depending on the reader's perspective.

I like books that leave me unsettled and a little confused -- maybe that's not to everyone's taste, but I enjoy not quite knowing what's going on as a story begins. I appreciate Andrea's comment on our last book talk about the genre of this novel, too: it falls into New Weird. I like this slightly realistic Soviet feel setting but in a new world altogether. Things are strange, unexpected, and unlike our regular lives -- the concept of having to "mark" all the things that the settlers used, with words, in order for items to maintain their reality, just has so many resonances! You'll see some of these elements in our previous discussions, but I think this is one of the most powerful themes of the book, for me -- the nature of language and reality. 

I love the atmosphere of this book, and the vaguely described elements of Amatka and the wider settlement. The mysterious ruins, and iced over lake, are evocative because they aren't really explained, they're just there. And I like Vanja and some of the side characters, like Evgen or Lars, quite a lot - they feel a bit more complex than the other inhabitants, who are more rule-followers. 

This is a book that's really stuck with me since I first read it, and I'm happy to see others taking a chance on it and finding that it's a great reading experience. This storyline makes me question some of the assumptions I have about life in general, which happens when I find a book at just the right time for me, and is always an unexpected pleasure. I hope your reading was also an engaging experience, and that spending time on a project will help you think about Amatka's themes a bit more. 

Please share your thoughts on the book, its themes, characters, or anything you noted about it -- either in the comments here or on our first Book Talk post, or on your own blog with a link to your longer thoughts in the comments so we can find it. I love to talk about the experience of reading so feel free to comment no matter when you're reading this post; if you've read this I'd love to hear your thoughts.

What project have you made, inspired by your reading of Amatka? Share a link to your project on this post as soon as you're done! The linkup will be live until May 31 --  you have another 3 weeks of sewing time to finish and share.


  1. I went back and read your interview with Karin again. The fact that Amatka was based on a dream makes sense to me. Dreams are vague and weird and rarely have a comprehensible ending.

    1. True, I also feel that there are elements here consistent with dreams!

  2. I still find it interesting that Vanja only lost her ability to speak, and not her thought process so could still function, when it appears that others lost their thought processes as well. Why?

    1. I think she was rescued before the full process could be completed, unlike poor Evgen. It's rather a sad conclusion, isn't it?

  3. Very much a sad end, and yet it was not totally a bad ending. When you take risks in life there is always the chance of an undesired consequence. We just live in hope things go our way. In Harri's eyes Vanja was dangerous, acting againt the system governed by officials 'elected' by the people. So she had to be silenced.


Share your comments, ideas or suggestions here -- I am always interested in hearing from readers. It's nice to have a conversation!