Purity by Andrzej Tichý (Translated from Swedish by Nichola Smalley) - review by Sarah Gale

Sarah Gale

Vanishing Point

Purity

By

And Other Stories 208pp £14.99
 

The short stories in Andrzej Tichý’s Purity are set primarily among the underclass of Sweden. A character in the collection’s first story struggles to narrate his family’s experiences in Poland after the war. He compares these to an optical illusion in which dots disappear each time you try to focus on them. They can only be seen at the very edges of your vision.

Tichý’s characters are also prone to vanishing. Purity is full of intentional holes. They appear in the boundaries between characters who morph into one another, in the narrative structure, and in actual matter, as when one takes a hammer to another’s head.

The most painful images in Purity are the recurring depictions of parental neglect. In ‘The Runaway’, we hear the voice of a woman who speaks to us from the ‘piss-yellow darkness’, a room in a facility that is on both ‘this side and that side of the grave’. It’s a

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RLF - March