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Amatka  By  cover art

Amatka

By: Karin Tidbeck
Narrated by: Kirsten Potter
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Publisher's Summary

A surreal debut novel set in a world shaped by language in the tradition of Margaret Atwood and Ursula K. Le Guin.

Vanja, an information assistant, is sent from her home city of Essre to the austere, wintry colony of Amatka with an assignment to collect intelligence for the government. Immediately she feels that something strange is going on: People act oddly in Amatka, and citizens are monitored for signs of subversion. 

Intending to stay just a short while, Vanja falls in love with her housemate, Nina, and prolongs her visit. But when she stumbles on evidence of a growing threat to the colony and a cover-up by its administration, she embarks on an investigation that puts her at tremendous risk. 

In Karin Tidbeck's world, everyone is suspect, no one is safe, and nothing - not even language nor the very fabric of reality - can be taken for granted. Amatka is a beguiling and wholly original novel about freedom, love, and artistic creation by a captivating new voice. 

©2017 Karin Tidbeck (P)2017 Random House Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: LGBTQ+

Critic Reviews

"Karin Tidbeck's Amatka is a stunning, truly original exploration of the mysteries of reality and what it means to be human. It's brutally honest and uncompromising in its vision - a brilliant short story writer has been revealed as an even more brilliant novelist. One of my favorite reads of the past few years, an instant classic." (Jeff VanderMeer, author of the Southern Reach trilogy)

"Tidbeck reimagines reality and the power of language in her dystopian sci-fi novel...Tidbeck introduces the mysteries and mechanics of her world slowly while leaving the origins of these pioneers opaque. Her ending takes a turn into much weirder territory, but her tense plotting, as well as the questions she raises about language, control, and human limits make this a very welcome speculative fiction novel." (Publishers Weekly)

"Karin Tidbeck is a brilliant conjurer of worlds, a fabulist armed with an imagination as fiercely strange as any I have ever encountered. Her fiction is built on a foundation of improbabilities and even outright impossibilities, and if you surrender to its increasingly bold claims on reality you will walk away surprised, thrilled, and in all likelihood changed forever." (Matt Bell, author of Scrapper)

What listeners say about Amatka

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  • Overall
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Just awesome

Great book!!! The idea of it was fascinating and i couldnt put it down . Narrator was great too!

4 people found this helpful

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Worth the shot

I gave this a shot because it seemed short and sweet as compared to my usual 20 hour, 5 to 8 book series I usually get drawn into.

I was drawn in because I was looking for sci-fi/fantasy with LGBT characters and was left pretty satisfied overall with the representation being what it is. She’s a lesbian and that’s just it. You could swap genders around and the story wouldn’t be affected and I like that.

So you’re left thinking “oh this must be a perfect world” but it’s really just that there’s so many other things to be worried about. It starts out on a train with the main character heading into a town for a market research job, so already we get the indie horror vibes. As you learn more about the town, the people, the job, things just aren’t quite what they seem.

I can’t recall the last time I was left feeling weird after finishing a book. There’s a lot of wondering about the literal world building and how it would look though I don’t feel a deep longing for it to continue, like I did with The Giver.

Definitely not the way you’re going to expect things to end. It’s like an episode of the twilight zone or something like that. Just wild.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

A good book, but a little clumsy.

I adore Jagannath, so I thought I'd try this. This story was good, and I'd recommend it, but it felt like it was stretched out. Something about it felt a little clumsy.

The book was very meta and I think some clumsiness was intentional given the world she was making. Still, I varied between intense fascination and boredom, and even if the characters feel that way it doesn't mean the reader should.

1 person found this helpful

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refreshing take on an alternate world

it's a quick listen at only 6ish hours long but it's a wonderfully built world that will have you hooked

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Dystopic, repressive, totalitarian society

Karin Tidbeck's Amatka is a bit of riddle wrapped in an enigma. The title is the name of an agricultural colony run by a mysterious committee that is never seen. Whether the world is a colony planet from a deprecated Earth or a fictitious place is never clear. The main character is sent from another colony to do market research for hygiene products. She ends up staying and there the mysteries begin. Most people are afraid of anything new and references to a splinter colony have been expunged. Inconsistencies begin to pile up and she finds herself in opposition to the local government. The ending doesn't resolve all the questions.

The world seems to be made of some multifunctional 'stuff' that requires some human involvement to maintain it form and function. This takes the form of people constantly 'marking' things by repeating their names. The overall feel is one of Siberia with a repressive government expressing total population control.

The narration is acceptable with heavily accented dialects. Pacing is smooth for a quick listen.

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Vague and boring

There is a mysterious town, but its mysteries are hinted at and never fleshed out or fully explored. The ending does not resolve any of it.

But even worse, the characters are shallow and have no development. The main character is devoid of personality. The only interesting character in the book does not reveal her secrets.

I gave this 2 stars because the overall concept of a world with transient objects is interesting, so there's something to like. But it could have been done much better.

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Great Story

Everything about this was on point! Highly recommended. Narration Perfect. The story is intense!! One of the better thrillers I’ve listened to in a while.

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Literally the worst book I have ever purchased!!!

stuuuuuupiiiid, not worth more words!!( OK 15 words stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid!!!!!!!!!