Tropic of Crocodile
Tropic of CrocodileJona Elings Knutsson
In this wondrous and imaginative novel, crocodiles gifted by Fidel Castro occupy a small Soviet bathtub, a woman is battling her crippling grief by day-dreaming about space travel, and a mother of two makes murderous plans in her battle to survive.
Present day Stockholm. Malin is trying to work through her grief and longs desperately for her estranged mother to comfort her the way she used to do when Malin was a little girl. While other children were read nursery rhymes, Malin’s mother would tell her stories about space—of famous cosmonauts, distant stars and space volcanoes. Now, with only herself to rely on, Malin thinks back to a particular story: Vladimir Shatalov, the thirteenth cosmonaut in space who lived in the city of stars, while his wife Yonova was left to battle the day-to-day life in a cramped Moscow flat with their two teenagers, food shortages, and two growing crocodiles in the bathtub. Malin starts writing Yonova’s would-be life story, as a way to make sense of her own place in the world.
The novel is made up of two stories, the stories of two women whose battles differ, but who are bound together by their shared experiences: the absent husbands who define them, shameful secrets that must be kept, and the shared humiliation of their female bodies.In the vein of Leni Zumas’s Red Clocks and Swedish literary sensation Lina Wolff, the author fearlessly explores the contours of female experience.
Debut author Jona Elings Knutsson’s TROPIC OF CRODODILE is at once a raw and touching depiction of loneliness and longing,
and a darkly humorous saga, partly based on real events, that will take us from Stockholm, to Moscow, and all the way to the stars.