Swallowed by the Cold
- “Beach's gifts grab you by the throat. . . . ‘Swallowed by the Cold’ is dark, seductive and worth finding.”—San Francisco Chronicle
The intricate, interlocking stories of Jensen Beach’s extraordinarily poised story collection are set in a Swedish village on the Baltic Sea as well as in Stockholm over the course of two eventful years.
In Swallowed by the Cold, people are besieged and haunted by disasters both personal and national: a fatal cycling accident, a drowned mother, a fire on a ferry, a mysterious arson, the assassination of the Swedish foreign minister, and, decades earlier, the Soviet bombing of Stockholm. In these stories, a drunken, lonely woman is convinced that her new neighbor is the daughter of her dead lover; a one-armed tennis player and a motherless girl reckon with death amid a rainstorm; and happening upon a car crash, a young woman is unaccountably drawn to the victim, even as he slides into a coma and her marriage falls into jeopardy.
Again and again, Beach’s protagonists find themselves unable to express their innermost feelings to those they are closest to, but at the same time they are drawn to confide in strangers. In its confidence and subtle precision, Beach’s prose evokes their reticence but is supple enough to reveal deeper passions and intense longing. Shot through with loss and the regret of missed opportunities, Swallowed by the Cold is a searching and crystalline book by a startlingly talented young writer.
Piercing, profound stories about the silences that calcify around the histories we fail to confront
- “Skillful.”—Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
- “Swallowed by the Cold empathizes with the way we get too caught up in our own messes to notice when our fellow man is, however figuratively, bleeding out alone on a beach.”—The Paris Review
- “[Jensen Beach’s] stark, yet multiply-layered prose explores the deep uneasiness people feel, and communicates a complexity of emotions using an economy of words.”—Vermont Public Radio
- “Intricate, riveting. . . . In the face of life's random violence and disquieting volatility, Beach's collection offers an unforgettable affirmation of the interconnectedness of all things.”—The Rumpus