Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme that was started by @Lauren’s Page Turners. This meme is quite easy to follow – just randomly pick a book from your to-be-read list and give the reasons why you want to read it. It is that simple.
This week’s book:
The Copenhagen Trilogy by Tove Ditlevsen
Blurb from Goodreads
Called a masterpiece by The New York Times, the acclaimed trilogy from Tove Ditlevsen, a pioneer in the field of genre-bending confessional writing.
Tove Ditlevsen is today celebrated as one of the most important and unique voices in twentieth-century Danish literature, and The Copenhagen Trilogy (1969-71) is her acknowledged masterpiece. Childhood tells the story of a misfit child’s single-minded determination to become a poet; Youth describes her early experiences of sex, work, and independence. Dependency picks up the story as the narrator embarks on the first of her four marriages and goes on to describe her horrible descent into drug addiction, enabled by her sinister, gaslighting doctor-husband.
Throughout, the narrator grapples with the tension between her vocation as a writer and her competing roles as daughter, wife, mother, and drug addict, and she writes about female experience and identity in a way that feels very fresh and pertinent to today’s discussions around feminism. Ditlevsen’s trilogy is remarkable for its intensity and its immersive depiction of a world of complex female friendships, family and growing up–in this sense, it’s Copenhagen’s answer to Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels. She can also be seen as a spiritual forerunner of confessional writers like Karl Ove Knausgaard, Annie Ernaux, Rachel Cusk and Deborah Levy. Her trilogy is drawn from her own experiences but reads like the most compelling kind of fiction.
Born in a working-class neighborhood in Copenhagen in 1917, Ditlevsen became famous for her poetry while still a teenager, and went on to write novels, stories and memoirs before committing suicide in 1976. Having been dismissed by the critical establishment in her lifetime as a working-class, female writer, she is now being rediscovered and championed as one of Denmark’s most important modern authors, with Tove fever gripping readers.
Why I Want To Read It
Happy first day of November everyone! Happy All Saints Day as well! Wow, it still feels surreal that 2022 is just 60 days away. I am both anxious and excited about what the new year has in store for everyone. As 2021 slowly draws its curtains, I hope that your prayers get answered. I hope that you receive the fruits of everything you worked hard for in the past year. More importantly, I hope that you are doing well, both physically and mentally, despite these trying and uncertain times. If there is one thing I really wish for is that for this pandemic to end. I hope that we all receive great news in the new year.
With the start of the workweek comes another Goodreads Monday update. For the past two weeks, I have been featuring literary works that I have recently added to my ever growing reading list. For this week’s update, I am featuring Danish poet and writer Tove Ditlevsen who I came across just this year through her work, The Copenhagen Trilogy. To be honest, the first thing that came to my mind when I read the title was Paul Auster’s The New York Trilogy which I loved; and Pedro Juan Gutierrez’s Dirty Havana Trilogy which I rue missing out on but still hoping to encounter again one of these day.
One of the chief reasons why I have added the book to my reading list is because I don’t think I have read the work of any Danish writer. I have just learned that Ditlevsen, who passed away in 1976, is a prominent figure in Danish literary scene, as a poet, a memoirist, and writer. She has published a score of works and has also received a lot of accolades. Prior to being collectively published as a trilogy, the books comprising The Copenhagen Trilogy were published independently: Childhood (Barndom, 1967), Youth (Ungdom, 1967) and Dependency (Gift, 1971). The first two books were translated to English in 1985 while the third book was translated in 2019 and, thus, completing the trilogy. I am looking forward to what the memoir has in store.
Funnily enough, prior to 2018, I refrained from reading memoirs, whether autobiographical or written on behalf of the main character. To be honest, I have been averse to nonfiction. However, I have been providing spaces for nonfictions works, particularly memoirs and I am glad I did for they have offered me a new lens upon which to examine writing, literature, and the philosophies of life in general. I have since read a couple of memoirs, including Nobel Laureate in Literature Wole Soyinka’s Aké: The Years of Childhood. In reading The Copenhagen Trilogy, I am hoping to expand my horizons further as I immerse in a new culture and a new writer.
How about you fellow reader? What memoirs have captured your interest? Perhaps you could share it on the comment box. Your insights would also be appreciated.