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NEW VOICES

EW LISTS, EW CES

EXTRACT FROM ISLAND (ICELAND) ‘The woman behind the airport desk smiled. An advert smile, I thought to myself, that would sell toothpaste or toilet paper, or whatever, between heaven and hell. I took out my credit card, the happy reunion dancing into my mind. The kids running towards me, jumping into my arms, hugging me to the point of knockdown, as you stand there a bit apart, looking on with tears in your eyes. I look at you and feel the tears welling up in my own eyes, even though I never cry, because you always get there before me and cut off my tears with your own. Then we embrace and I say we’ll be all right. We’ll be all right, I say and look into your eyes, but of course it’s not over yet. Your face breaks and crumples, lips tremble, and I hear you whisper: You idiot, you total idiot, as you struggle out of my arms.”

PETER HØJRUP ‘Vibrant language, real emotion, well-judged pathos and caustic humour. Peter Højrups brilliant Island (Iceland) has it all.’ That’s how Jyllands-Posten announced Peter Højrup’s debut novel to the world. The main character is an author, who is both privately and professionally on the verge of a breakdown. When we meet him, he’s on a plane bound for Iceland, and weaving in and out of his tapestry of thoughts, is his short odyssey when he attended a literary awards ceremony as a nominee, a scathing satire on Denmark’s literary Leben.

But comic irony and the petty squabbles and jealousies of the Literati are leavened by a moving tale of true love and loss of love, pulling off the remarkable trick of being both very funny, caustic, full of passionate social comment and a life-in-crisis novel. Peter Højrup, born 1974, debuted in 2001 with the poetry collection Så vil jeg hellere være en sø (Then I’d rather be a lake). Island (Iceland) is his debut novel.

Island (Iceland) Basilisk 2014, 211 pages. FOREIGN RIGHTS: Basilisk, Peter Højrup, admin@basilisk.dk

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Danish literary magazine autumn 2014  

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