The book Provinspis on a table next to a passport.

Provinspis

Author: Ditte Wiese

Published: Carlsen, 2017

Serie: Sonar

Provinspis – the book

Ida is a young girl living in a Danish province. Her mother, who is French, left many years ago after having withered away in Denmark for a long time. Ida mostly feels the same way about the small town that she lives in; it is boring as hell. Luckily her best friend Jon lives only 185 steps further down her street and she is always welcome at his place, which she benefits from on the nights where her own house is filled with the yelling of her dad and his girlfriend. Ida dreams of the day she can leave the town behond and travel out into the world; she just has to finish gymnasiet (high school/upper secondary)! She spends a lot of time working in the local grocery store, in order to save up for the travels she plans. And she needs to survive the boredom, which she does through sex, drugs and alcohol.

But something happens. Like things always do. Finishing her education suddenly doesn’t seem so easy. Being friends with Jon is suddenly not so easy; especially not while he is hooking up with Ida’s only girlfriend. Yet growing up means dealing with these kinds of things, and so Ida does. The only way she knows how.

my thoughts

(be aware of possible spoilers)

I was swept away by Ida and her struggles. To be honest, I don’t think I would have befriended Ida had I known her, which makes me feel sad, because she really needs a proper friend. My heart broke a little all the time she was left on her own. Even when she, in some way, caused it herself. The story is told through Ida’s point of view, which creates a beautiful layered experience, when reading the story, because everything is told through her language. I loved how the book slowly builds up to something, that I had a hard time figuring out, and at times I honestly felt as confused as Ida, which is why I never really believed myself, when I thought I knew what would happen next.

Provinspis is both a beautiful and an awful story about growing up and finding yourself in the world. Ida says: “The meaning of life is to be other places“, which I feel is so essential to the character of Ida. Even when she genuinly enjoys herself in the small town, she needs to get away. In many ways her story reminds me of Edith Wharton’s “Summer”, where the main character Charity constantly searches for the place she belongs; the place she can call home. Ida is searching for the same thing, really. Believing she will find herself, when she gets to the right place. Believing that there is so much of her mother in her, that she will never find peace in a small town in one of the provinces of Denmark.

Should you read it?

Provinspis is an honest story. The language is youthful, which is important since the target group is young adults. Ida is an average girl, who most young adults will be able to identify with. She is strong and outgoing, yet vulnerable and insecure. Everybody can benefit from reading this. The younger ones can maybe identify with Ida or one of the other characters in the book, which can sometimes help them in their own search for themselves. Parents can get some insight into the mind of a young girl, which may help them through their child’s process of growing up. Everybody will get an exceptionally brutally honest and wonderful reading experience, where the more experienced reader wil notice the layers, use of language and how the text combines form and content.

So the short answer is: Yes, you should read it.

The book Pigen fra Månehøjen on a tree branch

Drømmen om at skrive

Hello everyone! This post will be in Danish as it is written in connection with a blog tour of the Danish book “Pigen fra Månehøjen” by Lene Krog.


Følgende er skrevet af forfatter Lene Krog og handler om at følge sin forfatterdrøm. God fornøjelse med læsningen, og tak til Lene for at dele disse tanker med os!

drømmen

Engang for længe siden, i den helt spæde begyndelse af dette årtusinde, startede min rejse som forfatter, da et forlag skrev til mig, at de ville udgive min bog. Hurra! Lykken var gjort. Drømmen var nået. Sådan, mand!

Det var før sociale medier (ja, så gammel er jeg), lige kort før jeg fik min første mobiltelefon (og dengang var der ikke engang kamera i), og markedsføring var noget med aviser og blade. Der var da heller ikke meget i budgettet til en så ukendt forfatter som mig, men en af mine lærere tilbød at kontakte den lokale ugeavis for mig, så de kunne lave et interview, og jeg kunne få lidt eksponering.

Vent? Hvad?

Så folk kunne se, det var mig, der havde skrevet den der bog? Nej, sådan skulle det jo ikke være. Drømmen var jo bare at skrive bøger. Ikke stille op til interviews og udstille mig selv. Allerhelst ville jeg jo bare være anonym, mens mine bøger fløj hen over disken ved boghandleren.

Sådan virker det selvfølgelig ikke. Men stakkels, lille, introverte mig var ved at gå til over et simpelt, hypotetisk interview til ugeavisen. Så jeg sagde nej til min lærer. Forbød hende at kontakte dem. Og så kom anmeldelserne. Lidt blandede. Både positive og negative, men det negative vejede naturligvis mest, desværre. Og med det hele blandet sammen, tog det lidt modet fra mig.

Sjovt nok afholdt det mig ikke fra at skrive. Det var jo det, jeg elskede. Drømmen var at skrive. Men at skulle vise det frem, at skulle tage kritik, at skulle promovere bogen og mig selv – det var jo bare slet ikke drømmen. Men det følger alt sammen uvægerligt med, og det havde jeg lidt svært ved at acceptere.

Og til sidst stoppede jeg med at skrive. I rigtig lang tid.

Indtil for fem år siden. Pigen fra Månehøjen begyndte lige så stille at spire, og jeg havde en idé om at skrive den på engelsk og gemme mig bag et pseudonym. Godt nok var jeg på de sociale medier, men det var alligevel ikke helt mig – jeg var jo pseudonymet nu. Jeg legede lidt med Amazon, kom i kontakt med andre forfattere, og fandt Goodreads.

Jeg læste et væld af dårlige anmeldelser på populære bøger, og fandt langt om længe ud af, at man ikke kan behage hver en læser. Ligesom så meget andet, er det individuelt, om nogen kan lide en bog eller ej. Nogle elsker den samme bog, som andre hader. Og da det gik op for mig, var det på en måde nemmere at skrive. Jeg begyndte at skrive det, jeg gerne selv ville læse.

Jeg har også lært at tage kritik til mig, hvis jeg kan bruge den, og ryste den af mig, hvis jeg ikke kan. Det bilder jeg i hvert fald mig selv ind. Og efter mit korte engelske indie eventyr, som var alt for besværligt med alskens udenlandske skatteregler at sætte sig ind i, besluttede jeg mig for at vende tilbage til det danske sprog, omskrive Pigen fra Månehøjen, i mit eget navn tilmed, og tage kampen op mod angsten for selvpromovering.

Det er stadig min drøm at skrive bøger. Det har det sådan set altid været. Pigen fra Månehøjen har jeg selvudgivet, og det lykkedes mig at få den sendt videre til at få en lektørudtalelse, så bibliotekerne rundt omkring i Danmark nu er ved at købe ind af den. Og jeg glæder mig til at folk låner min bog og læser den. Om de kan lide den, tja, det kan jeg jo ikke styre. Men jeg kan håbe det. Og i mellemtiden fortsætter jeg min skrivedrøm, med alt det der følger med.


Pigen fra Månehøjen

Pigen fra Månehøjen er den første bog i en dansk fantasyserie om de to piger Merian og Aia fra landet Bragimark; et land i krig, hvor de få med magiske evner jages og deres evner tages fra dem. En dag tvinges de to piger ud på en rejse, der på mange måder bliver en betydningsfuld færd for de to piger; og ikke kun for dem personligt.

Vind bogen

Hvis du hopper forbi Lenes Facebookprofil har hun gang i en konkurrence, hvor du kan vinde hendes bog Pigen fra Månehøjen. Konkurrencebetingelser og lignende vil være at finde samme sted. Jeg ønsker alle en spandfuld held og lykke, og god fornøjelse!

Hvis du skulle være uheldig ikke at vinde bogen, kan den heldigvis købes flere steder både som fysisk eksemplar og som e-bog eller lånes på biblioteket. Så klik ind på din foretrukne bogsalgshjemmeside eller løb ned i den nærmeste boghandler eller det nærmeste bibliotek og skaf dig dit eget eksemplar, så du kan komme i gang.

The book Ave Eva is placed a the bottom of a tree trunk in a pile of dead autumn leaves

Ave Eva

Author: Sulaima Hind

Published: Høst og Søn, 2003

The book

Eva is a young girl, who has just started school in the Danish gymnasium (Corresponds to starting junior year in an American high school or starting upper secondary school). She lives with her mother and father, although her mother travels a lot due to her line of work. In a lot of ways she is just like everybody else at that age: A little insecure, yet fighting to be herself. She quickly befriends a few girls from her class, who are very proactive feminists. This leads to Eva’s involvement in several violent actions. Back home her mother is mostly away, and her father practically lives in his study, making him almost as absent. Eva deliberately avoids him at meals, yet still enjoys his company when he pops out of his office to refill his drink.

Eva enjoys writing and she does all of her writing on an old typewriter. Her Danish teacher encourages her to write a novel for the school paper, which she does and he offers to read it and help her improve it. They meet at his place one evening, and instead of helping her with her novel he severely violates Eva, who leaves the place completely shattered.

Broken down she tries to move on with her life, but her friends are quick to see that Eva suffers. They finally get through to her, and decide that Eva needs to be avenged. This fuels Eva’s disintegration further and she stays at home, avoids her friends and makes it her sole purpose to care for her father, while her mother is away. However, the horrors in Eva’s life do not end here.

My thoughts

This story is so heartbreakingly beautiful, yet still so horrible and painful. At several times I wanted to reach out and hold Eva or tell her to seek help. Even before she begins to spiral downwards, there is something about her, that seems fragile. I first read this book shortly after it was published, and I loved it back then. Rereading it now made me realise, that there were a lot of things I did not understand or pick up on back then. The story is told by Eva herself, at a time long after the events occured, and she tells it to a man, who we at first do not know. She begins her story: “I was once a girl called Eva…” creating a distance between the woman she has become and the girl in the story. The writing is excellent and even before I finished the book I reserved another one of Hind’s books at the library.

I secretely considered keeping the book (which is stealing, so no I was not being serious), because I can’t seem to find a copy for sale anywhere. This is a book I would love to own, so I can reread it again and again – even after the library has to put the book away, because so many new ones will have arrived.

I strongly encourage all the Danish readers out there to read the book! It is magnificient and works well wether you are 14 or 27 (or 58 probably).

The Book Regnfaldet (in English: The Rainfall) is lying between green plants

Regnfaldet – The Rainfall

Author: Gudrun Østergaard

Published: Kandor, 2014

In the beginning of July I read Regnfaldet (from now on referred to as The Rainfall, even though it is not the official translation. As far as I can tell the book has only been published in Danish.)

the book

The Rainfall takes place in a fantastical universe, albeit it does not differ much from what we know. It is a story about a small apartment building with four residents and a caretaker in a world where it rains constantly. The streets are flooded and as the story moves forward, the rain gets worse. Food supplies are cut off and people move away. Businesses shut down and basements are flooded. Yet people carry on, because the rain has been there for so long, it seems normal.

The four residents are four very different people, who do not wish to be involved in the lives of the other residents – or to some extent other people at all. They even prefer to not talk to the caretaker, even when they do have an issue that needs fixing. The caretaker on the other hand is a very talkative man, who smiles to people as he passes them. One day, the caretaker turns up dead, and the four residents come together to solve the mystery of his death, only to discover an even darker side to the whole ordeal.

my thoughts

This book was beyond weird, but so well-written. The fact that the fantstical universe was so close to our world, yet still very different made the reading experience a little odd. Everything seemed so normal, yet everything seemed a little off. This gives the book a somewhat eerie setting and adds a darkness to the story. The characters were really interesting, and for the better part of the story, those were the reason I continues reading. They are all, each in their own way, very peculiar people, and I kept trying to guess what would happen next.

Gudrun Østergaard writes exceedingly well, and the characters were very believable. When we have gotten to know the characters the plot twists and the caretaker turns up dead. The residents come together, and knowing from the first part of the book how they feel about each other and how different they are, I expected an almost comical meeting.

Should you read it?

The story itself was so strange, and at times I am not even sure I understood it, but the writing was excellent, and the characters were so peculiar! This book should definitely be read by someone who enjoys a great universe and cast, but does not need the book to give the reader all the answers.