IT DEFIES ALL LOGIC THAT A DANISH AUTHOR SHOULD SUCCEED IN THE USA, BEFORE MAKING SERIOUS HEADWAY AT HOME. BUT THAT’S WHAT DORTHE NORS DID. SHE CROSSED THE ATLANTIC WITH HER NOVELS UNDER HER ARM, MADE HER BREAKTHROUGH, THEN BROUGHT HOME THE BACON.
written, concluding by saying that Dorthe Nors had found her ‘voice’ with these short stories. These fifteen short stories were also praised for their ability to create a whole universe in a few pages – only to then break down those same dimensions. Their singular deep, dark, but also humorous, tone was also highly praised. But despite the great critical response to Kantslag (Karate Chop), it only saw one relatively modest print run. After that, not much happened. Until, that is, Dorthe Nors got some of the short stories translated to English and began sending them to newspapers and journals in the US. And it soon
‘Dorthe Nors is a new author on the block and has time on her side. Perhaps that’s why she actually dares to dive in at life’s deep end. No fear of flying or the existential PHOTO: AGNETE SCHLICHTKRULL abyss here, and a symbolism transpired that they were more than that pushes language close to the interested in publishing them. The breaking point. There’s something New Yorker too. Way to go! epic about Dorthe Nors’ writing. And she has huge potential.’ Thus wrote So the ball was well and truly Weekendavisen’s reviewer in 2005, on rolling in the USA, where Kantslag the publication of Dorthe Nors’ novel (Karate Chop) was published in Ann Lie (Ann Lie). A few years would 2014 by Graywolf Press, and then pass though before this potential was republished in Denmark, where it realised and, ironically, Dorthe Nors has sold five print runs. Graywolf had to take a detour via the USA also bought the rights to Dorthe before Danish readers ‘dug’ her talent. Nors’ novels Dage (Days) and Minna mangler et øvelokale (Minna needs a Dorthe Nors’ short story collection practice room). Kantslag (Karate Chop) came out in Denmark in 2008 to some fine The short stories in Kantslag (Karate reviews, amongst other places in Chop) depict skewed lives. Take the Berlingske, which described it as Christian civil servant at the Ministry challenging, empathic and well
of Foreign Affairs for example who coverts to Buddhism; a home nurse who orders tomatoes for delivery but will not take that last one that pushes it over a kilo; then the apparently run of the mill husband who nurtures a passion for female killers … Many characters are balanced on the quivering edge of something just about to happen – a shakiness picked up by the reader who’s never sure where the story is going but gives in to the effortlessly flowing narrative. Dorthe Nors, born 1970, debuted in 2001 with the novel Soul (Soul). Then the novels Stormesteren (The Great Master) 2003 and Ann Lie (Ann Lie) 2005, and in 2008 a short story collection Kantslag (Karate Chop). Then the novella Dage (Days) in 2010, and Minna mangler et øvelokale (Minna needs a practice room) 2013. The latter is a novel about the forty year old Minna, a composer writing a sonata, but finding it hard to find her soundscape. And anyway she’s no practice room. In fact, there’s a few things she needs. Like a baby, a true calling in life and her own ‘voice’ … “Sharp and funny satire,” said Weekendavisen, whilst Information’s reviewer said it was the funniest Danish novel she’d read in a long time.
Kantslag (Karate Shop) Samleren 2008, 147 pages. FOREIGN RIGHTS: Ahlander Agency, Astri von Arbin Ahlander, email@example.com. PREVIOUS TITLES SOLD TO: Czech Republic, Germany, Romania, United Kingdom, United States.
Published on Oct 1, 2014
This autumn’s book season is upon us and Danish Literary Magazine highlights some new books that show where Danish literature is ‘at’ right...