The Singularity by Balsam Karam, translated by Saskia Vogel

The Singularity by Balsam Karam, translated by Saskia Vogel


Literature in Translation Series
Literary Fiction
Publication Date: January 24, 2024
5 x 8 inches
200 pages
Trade Paperback
ISBN 9781771668897

Trade Paperback

Lyrical and devastating, The Singularity is a breathtaking study of grief, migration, and motherhood from one of Sweden’s most exciting new novelists.

In an unnamed coastal city filled with refugees, the mother of a displaced family calls out her daughter’s name as she wanders the cliffside road where the child once worked. The mother searches and searches until, spent from grief, she throws herself into the sea, leaving her other children behind. Bearing witness to the suicide is another woman—on a business trip, with a swollen belly that later gives birth to a stillborn baby. In the wake of her pain, the second woman remembers other losses—of a language, a country, an identity—when once, her family fled a distant war.

Balsam Karam weaves between both narratives in this formally ambitious novel and offers a fresh approach to language and aesthetic as she decenters a white European gaze. Her English-language debut, The Singularity is a powerful exploration of loss, history, and memory.

Praise for The Singularity:

“Lyrical, devastating and completely original, The Singularity is a work of extraordinary vision and heart. Balsam Karam’s writing is formally inventive and stylistically breathtaking, and Saskia Vogel’s translation does shining justice to its poetic precision and depths.” — Preti Taneja, author of Aftermath


Press Coverage:

“Balsam Karam’s new novel is enormously powerful… To read The Singularity is like drinking directly from a flood of tears.” —Aftonbladet 

“A novel that appears to have been created from dark matter, elusive, giddying and with an enormous linguistic and narrative density.” —Expressen

“Balsam Karam’s language is entirely her own. It is poetic and suggestive. Sometimes like one big stream-of-consciousness, where two different scenarios are portrayed in parallel. To be here and now and at the same time in the past. To carry one’s losses, engraved on one’s body like deep wounds. Because who can rank traumas, as the novel suggests. The loss of a child, a language, a country, an identity… The Singularity is a journey into a black hole. A point of no return.” —Jönköpings-Posten 


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About the Author

Balsam Karam is of Kurdish ancestry and has lived in Sweden since she was a young child. She is an author and librarian and made her literary debut in 2018 with the critically acclaimed Event Horizon, which was shortlisted for the Katapult Prize. The Singularity is her second novel, published in Sweden in 2021.


Saskia Vogel is the author of Permission (2019) and a translator of more than 20 Swedish-language books. Her writing has been awarded the Berlin Senate Endowment for Non-German Literature and can be read in Granta, The Offing, The White Review, and elsewhere. Her translations have won the CLMP Firecracker Award for Fiction (Johannes Anyuru’s They Drown in Their Mothers’ Tears), have been shortlisted for the PEN Translation Prize (Jessica Schiefauer’s Girls Lost), and supported by grants from the Swedish Arts Council, the Swedish Authors’ Fund, and English PEN. She was Princeton’s Translator in Residence in fall 2022. Vogel lives in Berlin.