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On the Calculation of Volume (Book I) [NOV.19]

Solvej Balle

Regular price $23.95


Tara Selter, the heroine of On the Calculation of Volume, has involuntarily stepped off the train of time: in her world, November eighteenth repeats itself endlessly. We meet Tara on her 122nd November 18th: she no longer experiences the changes of days, weeks, months, or seasons. She finds herself in a lonely new reality without being able to explain why: how is it that she wakes every morning into the same day, knowing to the exact second when the blackbird will burst into song and when the rain will begin? Will she ever be able to share her new life with her beloved and now chronically befuddled husband? And on top of her profound isolation and confusion, Tara takes in with pain how slight a difference she makes in the world. (As she puts it: “That’s how little the activities of one person matter on the eighteenth of November.”)

Balle is hypnotic and masterful in her remixing of the endless recursive day, creating curious little folds of time and foreshadowings: her flashbacks light up inside the text like old flash bulbs.

The first volume’s gravitational pull—a force inverse to its constriction—has the effect of a strong tranquilizer, but a drug under which your powers of observation only grow sharper and more acute. Give in to the book's logic (its minute movements, its thrilling shifts, its slant wit, its slowing of time) and its spell is utterly intoxicating.

Solvej Balle’s seven-volume novel wrings enthralling and magical new dimensions from time and its hapless, mortal subjects.  As one Danish reviewer beautifully put it, Balle’s fiction consists of writing that listens. “Reading her is like being caressed by language itself.”

Paperback | 160 pages | 5.19" x 8.00"