Leena Krohn
Tainaron Cover

Tainaron: Mail from Another City


Tainaron: Mail from Another City is a novel of sorts. It is a series of thirty letters written from the city of Tainaron. The unnamed letter writer is a human who is writing to her (former?) lover. The letters reveal that she never gets a response.

Tainaron is a city of human-sized insect-citizens--bees, cicadas, beetles, etc. Leena Krohn uses the social aspect of many insects' lives as metaphors to explore community, identity, individuality, and acceptance in this city.

The writing has a lyrical surrealism that makes me want to read more by her. Each small vignette packs is so much beauty and so many ideas that it is a book to read slowly and ponder. In this, it is much like Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities (one of my favorite books), to which Tainaron is often compared. However, unlike Invisible Cities, ideas build more easily because the narrator is staying in the same place. She sees the place from different angles and becomes emeshed in this city's peculiar rhythms. Even though it is a novella, it is neither an easy or a quick read. It is well worth the time and the effort.