It all started with an obituary. One day, Aris Fioretos discovered that an archivist at the National Board of Health had died at a very old age, leaving no kin. He wouldn’t have given Iris Frost another thought if her name had not been similar to that of a minor character in his first novel. Out of curiosity, he contacted the newspaper and obtained the number to the person who had submitted the obituary. When they met, life proved stranger than fiction. Not only had the deceased read his novels about how the brain, genitals and heart informed the view of mankind that emerged in the early-20th century, but had also commented on them.
In “Atlas”, published by Norstedts this autumn, these medical history notes are presented in an edited version, shedding light on characters that are far less fictional than Fioretos would have his readers believe. (Here are portrayed people who are parachuting and have no navel. Some suffer from a “deformation of the sexual instinct”, others search for the stuff of which the soul is made.) This laboratory of a book brings to life a parallel world that is deceptively similar to our own.
In collaboration with gewerk design in Berlin, Fioretos has recreated a textual universe, hovering between fiction and cultural history.
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