Lectures & Literary highlights

Martin A. Hansen’s The Liar Book Talk with Paul Larkin & Morten Høi Jensen


TUE—April 11—7 PM, free

Join us on April 11 for a book talk with Paul Larkin and Morten Høi Jensen on Martin A. Hansen’s The Liar, one of the greatest works of modern Scandinavian fiction, out April 4 from NYRB Classics in new translation by Larkin with an introduction by Jensen. 

First published in 1950, The Liar tells the story of Johannes Lye, a teacher and parish clerk on tiny Sand Island off the coast of Denmark, a place that in winter is entirely cut off from the world at large by ice. It is winter when the book begins, and for years now Johannes has lived alone, even as he nurses a secret passion for Annemari, a former pupil. Annemari is engaged to a local man, Olaf, who has left the island but is due to return come spring. She is also being courted by a young engineer from the mainland.

Such are the chief players in a compact drama, recorded in Johannes’s ironic, self-lacerating, and anything but reliable diary.

Martin A. Hansen’s novel beautifully evokes the stark landscape of Sand Island and the immemorial circuit of the seasons as well as the mysterious passage of time in the human heart, all the while proceeding to a supremely suspenseful conclusion.

This program will take place in-person at Scandinavia House; reservation required.


About the Speakers

Paul Larkin is a journalist, filmmaker, critic, and translator from Danish and other Scandinavian languages. He was winner of the European Journalist of the Year Award in 1997 and in 2008 he was awarded the Best International Director prize at the New York Independent Film and Video Festival. He lives in County Donegal, Ireland.

Morten Høi Jensen is a writer and critic from Copenhagen, Denmark. He is the author of A Difficult Death: The Life and Work of Jens Peter Jacobsen. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

About the Author

Martin A. Hansen (1909–1955) was a Danish writer of essays, novels, and short stories known for his participation in the Danish resistance movement during World War II. Born to a tenant farmer, Hansen grew up working as a farmhand and went on to train as a teacher.

During the German occupation of Denmark, he began writing and eventually editing articles in the underground publication People and Freedom. Hansen was awarded several prizes during his lifetime, including the Drachmannlegatet, De Gyldne Laurbær, and the Holdberg Medal.


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