This little book, which I read on the train somewhere between Milton Keynes and Stoke-on-Trent, was given to me by someone who said "I think you'll like this, since you're into 'the weird stuff'". Apparently I'm earning a bit of a reputation. But if that reputation means liking something like Os anões (The Dwarves) by Veronica Stigger, I'll gladly own it.
Apart from being just a mere 57 pages in total, the first thing to jump out about this book is that it's been printed as a board book (you know those thick-paged children's books for very young readers?). It's just one of the many ways Veronica has brought in the feelings of smallness, strangeness, peculiarity. I would hope that if (when!) this is translated into English as a complete collection, the publisher would respect this aspect of the book.
The experimental book is a collection of what you might call micro stories. Even micro mini. They're tiny. The title story, also the longest, is just a little over five pages. Others are a few pages, and others just a few lines.
These stories are so absurd, so surreal, and also hilariously violent (can I put those two words together?) that I'm pretty sure I read most of this book with my mouth open. At one point I caught myself repeating "Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God", only to be shocked even further just a few lines down. The title story tells us the story of a couple of little people who cut in line at a candy shop and incite a lynch mob. Other stories include a guy who's sued for displaying a tattoo of a poem, or actors tumbling to their deaths from a cable car. These aren't just miniature stories. Some of them are downright embryonic. But their brevity keeps them resonating in your mind for days to come.
A little about the author:
Os anões is Veronica's third book, and the second published by Cosac Naify, a Brazilian publisher I know mainly for their catalog of beautiful art, photography and design books. Originally from Porto Alegre, she's lived in São Paulo for the last twelve years. She is a writer, poet, art critic and university professor.