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Sanja Särman

English , 2016/11

Tags: relationships, symbolism, city life, sexuality, spirituality, unrequited love, melodrama, environmentalism.

216 x 140 mm , 128pp ISBN / ISSN : 978-988-8228-35-5

  • US$18.00

In Stock

BEYOND BRIGHTNESS is a succession of tales where characters, many of whom are both sombre and ridiculous, have the sinews of their will cut by the knife of fate, or desire. Särman occasionally seems to be arguing that these phenomena come down to one and the same thing; adducing sentiment as proof. Just as the carbon found in diamonds comes from the living and the dead alike, so dreams, lapses of thought, involuntary visions and sheer boredom are indiscriminately transformed into the gemstone of the special kind of feeling Särman capitalizes on – a feeling which, if it had a name, would be love of fate. “Ave fatum, gratia vidum” is the prayer that resurfaces again and again in this volume, a prayer that asks for no intercession, no screen between oneself and one’s destiny. Although the characters are curiously individuated, the centre stage in this book is occupied by Särman’s lyrical voice, shot through and through with mystical pain, and the same stubbornly immature longing which characterized Leopardi’s “rage to live” in this desert we call the world.

SANJA SÄRMAN is a  woman of Sino-Swedish descent. She has two Bachelor Degrees (one in literature and one in philosophy), and one master’s degree (philosophy), all three obtained at the University of Uppsala in Sweden, where she also studied various ancient and modern languages. At the time of writing Beyond Brightness, she was enrolled as a PhD student at the University of Hong Kong, where she explores moral and literary issues in early modern and late modern philosophy. In addition, she has studied visual arts (drawing and painting) at The Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels and Yunnan Art Institute in China. She mostly paints mythological motifs and portraits. Beyond Brightness is her first work of fiction to be published. She also composes stories and poetry in Swedish and French.


“Sanja Särman writes with extraordinary originality and wit – and more than a dash of gleeful perversity – about the inner landscapes and emotional transactions of cosmopolitan life.” Laura Kipnis, Professor, Northwestern University, USA, author of Against Love: a Polemic and Men: Notes from an Ongoing Investigation


“A moody poetic bag of introspective characters in search of sex, death and a reason for them: a feast of Nordic existentialism.”  Lawrence Gray, author of Odds and Sods, Cop Show Heaven and Adam’s Franchise


 “If you don’t want to think, this is not a book for you. If thought ever gave you pleasure, try to go beyond brightness.”

Jens Klitgaard Nelsson, Editor in chief, Brevnoveller, Sweden


“Portraying contemporary urban life in striking miniatures, Sanja Särman adopts the classic stance of tragic insight into the human predicament....”

Annelie Bränström Öhman, Professor, Literary Studies and Gender Studies, Umeå University, Sweden


 “Särman’s prose – the juxtaposition of existential despair and lighting bolts of humour – cuts, her imagery shines, indeed with a strange, unnerving light.” Laura Katherine Smith, Belgium


Beyond Brightness claims an unusual but quietly authentic space.”

Philip Chatting, author of The Snow Bridge and Other Stories


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