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“MIRROR, SHOULDER, SIGNAL” 

SHORTLISTED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL MAN BOOKER  PRIZE 2017

OUT IN THE UNITED STATES JUNE 5th

Praise for Mirror, Shoulder, Signal:

“Nors’s fiction begins at the moment of unmooring — in all its pain and possibility, as these women imagine themselves into being. It’s the foundation, too, of a harsh wit that recalls early Lorrie Moore. . . . If her subject is unwavering, her style remains restless, less out of a desire to be ‘experimental’ than out of playfulness and a genuine yearning, one feels, for contact and connection. (…)  Beneath the cool minimalisme roils maximalist outrage – the horror of being captive to not only your body but to society. “We’re locked in Sonja’s consciousness, but the novel never becomes claustrophobic. Opening it feels like opening a window — there’s a bracing freshness and chill to the writing, and the unforced ease of a song.”” The New York Times

“Set in Copenhagen and the Danish countryside, the events described in Mirror, Shoulder, Signal could occur in any metropolitan American city and any rural US backwater.  Deceptively simple, this book addresses longing and its futility, estrangement and displacement, with a casual ease. Nors’ writing creeps up on you, and then overwhelms with its emotional power.  She is a master.”— Chris Kraus, author of I Love Dick.

Mirror, Shoulder, Signal is as delightful as it is unsettling, a novel that tells startling truths about loneliness, aging and the profound disconnectedness of urban life. Dorthe Nors is a remarkable observer of human behavior, a writer of singular insight, wit and heart.  -Jennifer Haigh, author of Heat and Light

“Dorthe Nors is masterful at etching portraits of complicated, alienated women and with Mirror, Shoulder, Signal she has created a captivating view of a woman wrestling with her own stagnation. Nors’ heroine Sonja engages her world with both humor and overwhelming anxiety, a mix that hits entirely close to the bone.” Karolina Waclawiak, author of The Invaders
Mirror, Signal, Shoulder explores the otherwise unspoken misery of getting a driver’s license, and uses the experience to tease out the secret humiliations that we all suffer but never name. No writer is more haunted by history—the personal, the local, the international— than Dorthe Nors and it’s all here, delivered with her customary economy and grace.” – Jaret Kobek, author of I Hate the Internet
 THE GUARDIAN: The Danish author vividly captures the life and loves of a nonconformist translator of crime fiction (…) When Sonja’s narrative breaks free of the corner she has boxed herself into, the prose swoops and soars like her yearned-for whooper swans. It’s at these moments that Nors’s reinvention of experimental fiction is so marvellous: the remainder of her backlist should not disappoint.
KIRKUS REVIEW (starred review) [A] tautly observed novel. . . . The drama Nors excavates is the most human one. What does it mean to keep on living? What does it mean to make a place for oneself, no matter how small or conditional? . . . Nors is an exquisitely precise writer, and in rendering her heroine’s small disruptions and, yes, victories, she is writing for, and of, every one of us.
YALE LITERARY MAGAZINE:sharp, funny, brooding
THE ECONOMIST: Dorthe Nors’s novel is a magnificent exploration of anxiety. Mirror, Shoulder, Signal introduces a writer who is both funny and brave.

FINANCIAL TIMES: Nors’ writing has witty and insightful depth (…) She writes important modern women’s fiction. It is an act of 21st century recovery and assertion: she gives back agency and centrality to older women, sidelined in all societies, even Scandinavian ones, where women are valued less than men, and childless, single women least of all.

THE TIMES: “Sonja is a thoroughly modern heroine – middle-aged, single, chronically alone, struggling to shift the gears of her entire life, and nothing at all like Bridget Jones. Comical, clever, with a knife-twist of uneasiness.”

THE TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT “Sonja may not be the hero the metropolitan elite dreamed of, but she is a hero of sorts as she finds a way to bridge an awkward silence between urban and rural concerns. This is a book for anyone, from Stockholm to Shanghai who finds themselves living in a city feeling unaccountably anxious with “restless legs poised for flight”.

THE HERALD: Mirror, Shoulder, Signal is an examination of what it feels like to be stuck, with Sonja capable of longing for the days when she could hide out in a field of rye on her parents’ farm, but unable to picture a future, let alone work out a way of getting there. It’s an insightful and compassionate novel (…)

VOGUE: Fortysomething singleton Sonja takes control by learning to drive – with hilarious consequences.

THE SPECTATOR: In this short novel Nors manages to condense the essence of a life. (…) Sonja’s quietly spirited thoughts make the journey worthwhile, and her every tiny act of defiance is something to cherish.

THE DAILY MAIL: “This novel reads like a sort of Danish Woody Allen: existential, domestic, gently humorous  (…) On the one hand this poetic, thoughtful book is an affectionate send-up of the modern Nordic mindset. But in a deeper way it’s a love letter to a vanished land, that of childhood.”

THE LADY MAGAZINE: A heartfelt, darkly funny and addictive read that will leave you longing for more.’

BIG ISSUE: the experience in reading about Sonja’s heroic struggle to get out of a crummy rut is very moving. Perhaps because Nors’ watchful eye, as well as often seeing the humour in regular situations, creates characters so believable in their small, everyday battles that we can’t help but care. 

TOAST MAGAZINE: Mirror, Shoulder, Signal did not win this year’s International Booker, but it could have: let’s hope that Dorthe Nors continues to astonish from across the North Sea.

A LIFE IN BOOKS: Deftly combining wit with acute observation Mirror, Shoulder, Signal is essentially about loneliness, about not fitting in when it seems everyone else does. Its cover perfectly sums it up: shutting her skirt in the door is precisely the kind of think Sonja would do. Congratulations to both Nors and Hoekstra for their well deserved appearance on this year’s Man Booker International Prize longlist.

ELLE THINKS: (…) hopeful without sentimentality, allowing for love but not equating love with magic. And the love comes from a most unexpected place, one that made me smile with surprised delight. You’ll have to read it to see what I mean.

LOVEREADING: March 2017 Book of the Month: “Short. unsettling and perceptive.”

 

PRAISE FOR SO MUCH FOR THAT WINTER HERE

PRAISE FOR KARATE CHOP & MINNA NEEDS REHEARSAL SPACE IN THE U.S. and U.K.: HERE

READ THE NEW YORKER STORY “THE FREEZER CHEST” HERE / AUDIO RECORDING OF “THE FREEZER CHEST” HERE

“KARATE CHOP” ON PUBLISHERS WEEKLY’S BEST BOOKS of 2014 LIST (HERE)

INTERVIEW IN THE PARIS REVIEW HERE

INTERVIEW IN THE ATLANTIC HERE

INTERVIEW IN THE NEW YORKER – HERE

MY ESSAY “A WOLF IN JUTLAND” IN THE GUARDIAN HERE

BBC “READING EUROPE”, listen HERE

INTERVIEW IN THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY HERE

HØR TALEN OM DET HYLENDE PINDSVIN HER

ANMELDELSER SPEJL SKULDER BLINK SE HER

WINNER OF THE P. O. ENQUIST LITERARY PRIZE 2014