‘Utterly, agonisingly compulsive … a masterpiece’ Liz Jensen, Guardian
The first volume in The Copenhagen Trilogy, the searing portrait of a woman’s journey through love, friendship, ambition and addiction, from one of Denmark’s most celebrated twentieth-century writers
Tove knows she is a misfit, whose childhood is made for a completely different girl. In her working-class neighbourhood 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 my 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.
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 * Incredibly compelling and timely -- Amber Butchard * Saturday Review * 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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