Berit Ellingsen. Snuggly Books, $10 paperback (110p) ISBN: 978-1943813261
Berit Ellingsen’s work is some of the most exquisite, darkly beautiful fiction you’re ever likely to encounter. Minimalist in structure, yet spilling over with symbolism, themes and weighty truths, Ellingsen’s fiction is uncanny and her style is instantly recognizable. Ellingsen’s latest offering, the pocket-sized collection Vessel and Solsvart from Snuggly Books, gives the reader everything they’ve come to expect from Ellingsen—stark landscapes, enigmatic characters, eco-apocalyptic warnings—and more.
Vessel and Solsvart houses five short stories and each is as meticulously crafted as the rest. When I talk about Ellingsen’s singular style, here’s a taste of what I’m getting at:
“The new heat reaches us from the seeping marsh, the lichen-veiled trees, and our soft bedding of moist sphagnum moss. The water, which used to be as cool as a mallard’s feet, is now as warm as bat blood, the trunks that were hunched and slowly being choked by vines stretch like flowers in the sun, and the glistening purple earthworms that used to peek up through the moss are no longer here.”
These are merely the opening lines of the opening story, “Vessel and Solsvart” and everything that