Absurd and Humorous Dystopia
Epp Axel Jensen
Translation Oliver Stallybrass
Axel Jensen’s Epp (1965) is a darkly dystopian book about a pensioner called Epp, who is living in a town on an unnamed planet in a big block surrounded by hundreds of similar blocks. The society is strictly controlled by the authorities.
Science-fiction and a dark description of a future society with obvious connection to our present day’s society
Epp lives together with a carnivorous plant called Ili, and fills his days with cooking an egg for breakfast, studying wall papers (he used to work in a wall paper factory), writing reports on his own doings and those of other people living in the block, cutting pictures from journals and gluing them in a book. The only people he has contact with are his sister, who he sends letters to, and a neighbour Lem, who moves away. Epp is happy, if he succeeds in cooking a perfect egg and if there are no ink spots in the report.
Epp is an average citizen, which is revealed by his three-letter name. If he held a higher position, the name could be Eppe, Eppen or even Eppenepp Epp; it could be worse though: Ep or just plain E.
Nothing really ”happens” in the book: it consists solely of Epp’s thoughts, plans and discussions.
This is a dark picture of the future, but also a criticism of the technological development and the control of society. The novel’s humour distinguishes it from other literary dystopias - Huxley’s, Bradbury’s or Orwell’s - and puts Jensen closer to authors like Kurt Vonnegut.
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