March 2017 Book of the Month.
A novel of loneliness and insecurity. We can see what the poor woman, Sonja, must do. She cannot. It takes an act of kindness for Sonja to grab her life. Getting to that stage we have a stream of consciousness, much reminiscing of her childhood and episodes from the parts of her life which she believe sustain her; massages, driving lessons (that’s where the title comes from) and translating a famous Swedish crime writer’s work into Danish. The author is a much respected young Danish literary writer whose short stories, Karate Chop, won prizes. She also has four novels under her belt. This is the first to be translated into English. Short (188 pages), unsettling and perceptive, it’s not an easy read. ~ Sarah Broadhurst
Sonja is learning to drive. Her instructor is insane. She should have done this when she was eighteen (like her sister who now lives in a big house in the countryside with her husband and kids and has stopped returning her calls). On the streets of Copenhagen she struggles with the mirrors, with the signalling - she can't even change gears. Her masseuse thinks she witholds her emotions, she needs to let them hang out more. And then there's the positional vertigo that threatens to overwhelm her at the most inconvenient moments. Dorthe Nors' examines the absurdity of modern life, the complexity of human desire, and the ache of loneliness and disappointment in a novel shot through with flashes of humour. This is a stylishly original and meticulously structured story about searching for meaning in the sometimes alienating urban landscape, and eventually finding a way home.
Praise for Dorthe Nors:
'Dorthe Nors is fantastic' -- Junot Diaz
'Gripping... how often can we honestly say that a book is unlike anything else? Yet here it is, unique in form and effect... Nors has found a novel way of getting into the human heart... even the author blurb is exciting: it tells us that as well as this novella and collection of stories, Nors has written four novels not yet translated into English. Oh! Don't make us wait' -- John Self Guardian
'Unsettling and poetic... Some pieces, like one about a four-pound tomato, are oddly beautiful; others are brilliantly disturbing' New York Times Book Review
'Dorthe Nors is a writer of moments-quiet, raw portraits of existential meditation, at times dyspeptic, but never unsympathetic' Paris Review 'What We're Loving'
'The short-short stories in Danish sensation Nors's slim, potent collection, Karate Chop ... Evoke the weirdness and wonder of relating in the digital age' Vogue
'In this collection of stories, Danish fiction comes off a little like Danish furniture, spare and sublime. Author Dorthe Nors knows how to capture the smallest moments and sculpt them into the unforgettable' Oprah Magazine
'Nors illuminates an ominous world of disconnected people trying to make sense of their dislocation...Nors affectless, matter-of-fact storytelling...is the perfect complement to the low-wattage desperation and inertia her characters feel...Karate Chop is just like that: It loves you and wants to teach you, but it also wants to harm you' Los Angeles Times
Publication date: 23/02/2017
Publisher: Pushkin Press
|Publication date:||23rd February 2017|
|Genres:||Books of the Month, eBook Favourites, Literary Fiction, Relationship Stories,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
Dorthe Nors was born in 1970 and studied literature at the University of Aarhus. She is one of the most original voices in contemporary Danish literature. Her short stories have appeared in numerous international periodicals including including The Boston Review and Harpers, and she is the first Danish writer ever to have a story published in the New Yorker. Nors has published four novels so far, in addition to a collection of stories Karate Chop, and a novella Minna needs rehearsal space, also published by Pushkin Press. Karate Chop won the prestigious P. O. Enquist Literary Prize in 2014. She lives in ...More About Dorthe Nors