Read and discuss Scandinavian literature in translation as part of our Nordic Book Club, now online! Each month we select a novel from some of the best Nordic literary voices. On March 8, we’ll be discussing Adorable by Ida Marie Hede, out in translation by Sherilyn Nicolette Hellberg, which was recently discussed by the author in the virtual panel “The Familiar & The Absurd: Literature from Copenhagen,” now streaming here.
From one of Scandinavia’s most innovative writers and shortlisted for the Danish Critics’ Prize for Literature, Adorable is a shimmering journey into the absurd phenomenality of family life – and the human microbiome — told in four parts, in Copenhagen and London.
The love between B and Q is tender but worn; when their daughter Æ is born, the everyday lights up in a new way. In its second part, the dead are animated in B’s brain. When B’s father dies, the news is delivered to her by phone and an essayistic, collagist meditation on death and transmission ensues. And then, it’s finally Friday. B and Q descend below the living room floor and wander through a cracked and skittish underworld. In Ida Marie Hede’s porous world, which is our world too, grime, bacteria, and even death are intimately bound up with health and renewal. Fusing the commonplace and the profound, the material and the spiritual, the elegiac and the conceptual, Adorable powerfully insists that it is impossible to tell where death and life begin or end.