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.

My summer reads on a table here amongst are Tell the Wolves I'm home, The Girl at Midnight and the Prince of Soul and The Lighthouse.

Summer Reads 2017

I am quite the disorganised reader. My book picks are always pretty random and are pretty much just based on what I feel like reading in the moment. This year, however, I wanted to try something new and did therefore actually create a ToBeRead-list of the books I want to read this summer. My summer reads, if you like, were actually not my picks, but instead I decided to trust a librarian. After the holiday I will go into further details about this, because there is a very specific reason as to why I am suddenly trying to be all organised and practical, and why I let somebody else pick my summer reads for me.

For now, though, I’d like to present to you – in no particular order – the books that ended up in my TBR pile for this summer. Some of the titles are Danish and are not (as far as I can tell) translated into English, but I will provide you with a (somewhat) direct translation of the title, should you not be familiar with the Danish language.

My summer reads in 2017 are (drumroll)

  • Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
  • Regnfaldet (The Rainfall) by Gudrun Østergaard
  • The Prince of Soul and The Lighthouse by Fredrik Brounéus
  • De utilpassede (The Maladjusted) by John Kenn Mortensen
  • The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey
  • Det bliver pinligt uanset hvad (It will be awkward no matter what) by Tyra Teodora Tronstad

It is a good blend of YA novels and fantasy, which are some of my favourite genres. Despite the fact that these all sound very interesting, I especially have high expectations for “Det bliver pinligt uanset hvad”, “Tell the Wolves I’m home” and “The Girl at Midnight”.

I am so excited to begin these and already wonder if my list is long enough for the summer. But if it isn’t, then I guess it is at least a good start to being a more organised reader.