So Much For That Winter

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Title: So Much For That Winter (original title: Det var så den vinter)

Writer: Dorthe Nors, translated by Misha Hoekstra

Publishing House: Graywolf Press

Date of Publication:  June 15th 2016 

Rating: 5 stars

‘’Night has descended on Amager.

Denmark is laid in darkness.

The Sound flows softly.

The planes take off and land.

Minna awakens.

Minna gasps.’’

Two women find themselves in a limbo of losses, regrets and disappointment. The ones they used to trust have betrayed them, their world is shaking violently. The city is now harbouring their secrets, their souls as the struggle to remain afloat and sane begins…

Dorthe Nors composes another masterpiece with two unforgettable novellas, two elegies to womanhood and love, betrayal and survival, and an ode to the cities that offer us comfort and refuge.

‘’Amager Strandpark is Husby Danes meets

    Omaha Beach.

Amager Strandpark is full of savage dogs

 trying to flush something out.

Amager Strandpark is a battlefield of 

  wounded women.’’

Minna Needs Rehearsal Space

Minna’s heart breaks when her boyfriend sends her a text to break up with her. Still pining for that coward – because Love makes us weak, we have to admit as much…- she finds solace in Art. From Back to Bergman, from Karen Blixen to Hans Christian Andersen, Minna is staring at the void, wounded like a contemporary Little Mermaid, longing for the comfort of the Baltic Sea, lost in memories of past loves, in a city that tries to heal her wound. Ferocious like Fenris, her heart refuses to let go, fighting the demons. Written in headlines, poignantly commenting on the abhorrent Facebook culture and playing with strong motifs like the darkness and the urban vibe of a modern capital, Dorthe Nors creates a literary wonder. The final pages are simply striking.

‘’The ether is full of malicious messages.

The ether hums with breakups and loss.

The ether is knives being thrown.

The ether is blood surging back.’’

Days

‘’Why this now too? Hasn’t it been enough? Hasn’t

it?

I howled.’’

‘’that’s the way I am, not the kind you can knock

out, 

with tongue before the mirror,

eyes open,

my face a grimace of gums and longing

and ice water for dinner.’’

What is Life if not a series of lists? Incidents, important or trivial, have the power to provoke any emotion, any reaction imaginable (and some less so…). In this novella, we follow a woman who tries to understand her needs and her own self while a rather peculiar spring unfolds around her. Finding refuge and tranquillity in the cemetery ‘’for now it is spring, and it’s tough to be happy’’, and with a shadowy Kali lurking in the corner, she passes from happiness to rage, from despair to hope in a very familiar and powerful roller-coaster of emotions. She is open to finding joy when light is seemingly lost, and her ability to make lists is what keeps her sane. Her clarity and observations are outstanding, and the ending notes of the Midsummer Night bonfires and the lawns were enough to warm a cold November’s night in Athens.

‘’got wet but didn’t care, for people who don’t 

know how I feel should stop feeling for me, and if

they can’t think my thoughts to their conclusion,

they should think about something else, maybe

they should think about their own lives, and when

they think about them, they should ask themselves

if their lives make more sense.

and do they? I wondered

and walked home to Brahms

and the sounds down in the street.’’

Dear people, we are readers blessed with Dorthe Nors, superbly translated by Misha Hoekstra. All is well.