Childhood, Youth, Dependency
Mr B's review
Set in the bleak streets of working-class Copenhagen, this three-part novel demonstrates the heights that autofiction can reach. We follow the protagonist’s compelling and troubled journey to establish herself as a writer and poet – titles that Tove herslef has only recently received recognition for. An illuminatingly confessional, gently melancholic, and achingly beautiful novel for fans of Ferrante and Plath. – Kate
‘Utterly, agonisingly compulsive … a masterpiece’ Liz Jensen, Guardian
Following one woman’s journey from a troubled girlhood in working-class Copenhagen through her struggle to live on her own terms, The Copenhagen Trilogy is a searingly honest, utterly immersive portrayal of love, friendship, art, ambition and the terrible lure of addiction, from one of Denmark’s most celebrated twentieth-century writers.
‘Sharp, tough and tender … wrenching sadness and pitch-black comedy … Ditlevsen can pivot from hilarity to heartbreak in a trice’ Boyd Tonkin Spectator
‘Astonishing, honest, entirely revealing and, in the end, devastating. Ditlevsen’s trilogy is remarkable not only for its honesty and lyricism; these are books that journey deep into the darkest reaches of human experience and return, fatally wounded, but still eloquent’ Observer
‘The best books I have read this year. These volumes slip in like a stiletto and do their work once inside. Thrilling’ New Statesman
As in much of the best autofiction, the protagonist’s weakness is counterpoised by the strength of her voice … [Ditlevsen speaks] beyond the cruel and disappointing figures she encounters to us, her readers, awaiting her in another time and another place — Lara Feigel * Guardian * Despite the darkness that haunts these three books, they shine with Ditlevsen’s honesty and humanity … Her work, seemingly so simple, has the miraculous quality of a life perceived in perfect clarity. Despite the author’s untimely death, The Copenhagen Trilogy is a powerful – and uplifting – testament of survival — Erica Wagner Ditlevsen’s taut, simple prose shines a light on what life and love were like for working-class women in 20th century Copenhagen. Elena Ferrante fans, take note * Stylist * Wrenching sadness and pitch-black comedy … Sharp, tough and tender — Boyd Tonkin * Spectator * Intense, elegant … Ditlevsen’s portrait of Vesterbro in the Twenties has something of the same texture of Elena Ferrante’s description of the poor Neapolitan neighbourhood in which her heroines grow up — Lucy Scholes * The Daily Telegraph * Semi-miraculous, raw and poignant … Radiates the clear light of truth and stands as the ultimate victory of a life that must have felt, in the living of it, like a defeat — Alex Preston * Observer * Mordant, vibrantly confessional… A masterpiece * Guardian * To get it out of the way: these are the best books I have read this year … Childhood has the simple declarative sentences of Natalia Ginzburg and the pervasive horror of a good fairy story — John Self * New Statesman *
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