Passagen The Electric State

In late 1997, a runaway teenager and her yellow toy robot travel west through a strange USA, where the ruins of gigantic battle drones litter the countryside along with the discarded trash of a high tech consumerist society in decline. As their car nears the edge of the continent, the world outside the window seems to unravel at an ever faster pace, as if somewhere beyond the horizon, the hollow core of civilization has finally caved in.

Simon Stålenhag is the internationally lauded artist and author of Tales from the Loop and Things from the Flood. Now, Stålenhag turns his unique vision to America in a new narrative art book: The Electric State.


  • “Simon Stålenhag tells a modern epos in images and words. /…/ With delicacy and empathy, he depicts a young person through her own words, thoughts and story. /…/ His hand and voice form a whole that is unique. /…/ Stålenhag’s three books take place before, during, and after a hinted-at catastrophe. Tales from the Loop brings to mind subsequent works such as Stranger Things, but The Electric State is more reminiscent of the mood in The Walking Dead. And the genre certainly evokes a creeping sense of horror: the text contains closely portrayed frightening depictions of physical and mental decay and suffering, and the images are dominated by threatening, monstrous constructions in the distance and over-dimensioned, dissonant robot creatures. A feeling of being watched and an ever-present uneasiness, a feeling of threat, infuse the images. But it is the story in pictures and words, the symbiotic relationship between the two, that captivates the reader from start till finish. Be sure not to miss the part of the plot that only plays out in the images, either, inserted into a narrative by a foreign voice recalling memories about the world and the war. /…/ Stålenhag is a master of the art of telling a story in fragments. Piece by piece, the world, the plot and the protagonist emerge from the short texts that accompany the artworks. A lonely girl who plays a bigger role than she knows, on her way through an unforgiving wasteland. In this manner, The Electric State becomes a classic epos, but at the same time also a bildungsroman told in retrospect.”


    LitteraturMagazinet, Sweden

Photo: #{bookData.artist.imageByline}Simon Stålenhag
  • Art & literary
Reading material

English edition

Swedish edition

Rights sold

Sweden, Fria Ligan

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