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. Discussions have typically taken place the last Tuesday of the month at Scandinavia House but will now be taking place bi-weekly as an online meeting.
Book club participants will all appear online at the start of the meeting when they log in so that they are able to take part in the conversation. For participants who would prefer not to be visible onscreen, see an easy tutorial online here on how to set a profile image that will appear onscreen instead.
On March 16, we’ll be discussing the book Childhood by Tove Ditlevsen, which has been recently re-released in translation by Tiina Nunnally as part of the The Copenhagen Trilogy. The trilogy was the subject of a recent panel discussion with Michael Favala Goldman, Morten Høi Jensen, Rachel Kushner, and Ben Lerner, available to stream here.
Tove knows she is a misfit whose childhood is made for a completely different girl. In her working-class neighborhood in Copenhagen, she is enthralled by her wild, red-headed friend Ruth, who initiates her into adult secrets. But Tove cannot reveal her true self to her or to anyone else. For “long, mysterious words begin to crawl across” her soul, and she comes to realize that she has a vocation, something unknowable within her—and that she must one day, painfully but inevitably, leave the narrow street of her childhood behind.
Childhood, the first volume in the Copenhagen Trilogy, is a visceral portrait of girlhood and female friendship, told with lyricism and vivid intensity.