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“MIRROR, SHOULDER, SIGNAL” 

SHORTLISTED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL MAN BOOKER  PRIZE 2017

U.K. praise for Mirror, Shoulder, Signal:

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.

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

LOS ANGELES TIMES: “Nors’ writing is by turns witty, gut wrenching, stark and lyrical. Her characters seesaw between longing for human connection and the space in which to lick their wounds. That she achieves all this while experimenting with form is something of an impossible feat. . . . Nors has created an exciting and artful literary diptych.”

BBC: “[So Much for That Winter is] one of the speediest and most intriguing of this year’s summer books. . . . The rhythm of Nors’ work, shaped from headlines, fragments and status updates, is eerily familiar. Her innovative novellas hold a mirror to our disjointed times.”

SEATTLE WEEKLY: “Though they make up the traffic of our online lives, lists and headlines have never felt so alive, so uncomfortable, so raw as they do when Nors writes them.”

THE NEW YORKER: Dorthe Nors’s novella “Minna Needs Rehearsal Space,” in her book “So Much for That Winter,” set off fireworks in my brain: it’s a story told in one- or two-sentence headlines. I loved the way that the mostly one-line paragraphs marched down the page in prickly self-containment, with a lot of white space that demands a certain kind of attention from the reader. (Lauren Groff, This Week in Fiction).

ESQUIRE: “Until 2016, I never realized that what was missing from my life was a pair of formally experimental novellas, So Much for That Winter, translated from Danish, about contemporary loneliness and isolation. Dorthe Nors’ formal innovation is playful but organic and necessary, entwined with character and subject. The writing is emotionally direct, unsentimental, and surprisingly moving. Genuine newness is always an achievement.” (Author Chris Bachelder.)

KIRKUS REVIEWS: “[So Much For That Winter presents] an edgy evocation of contemporary life. Nors is a creator of small spaces; her fiction is relentless, edgy, brief. . . . It couldn’t be more accessible.” 

THE RUMPUSNors is a wholly unique voice in contemporary literature: a maximalist working within minimalist forms, hammering her prose into those shapes that will better amplify its power. The work suggests effortlessness and a lack of constraint, even as it hews to an almost skeletal simplicity.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: “As in Woolf, the beauty of the world in the face of death and decay is very much at stake in ‘So Much for That Winter.’ That, combined with its repetitions and confessions, gives the book a devotional quality. It’s easy to imagine this duo of airy novellas slipped into the purse or beach bag of one of those women who feel invisible, who will perhaps read it slowly on a park bench and be inspired to sing a little louder, take up a little more space, or write a little more freely.”

FLAVORWIRENors is plainly taking on the tight emotional space of the digital and attempting to do what she always does: zap it without lightning to make it grow bigger.”

SHELF AWARENESS: The result of these startling experimental novellas is both somber and playfull, the themes of romantic and creative blocks heightened by the minimalist style … A compelling investigation of form and emotion.”

POWELL’S: So Much for that Winter is uniquely composed, yet eminently readable (…) Dorthe Nors is doing some fascinating work and her chosen forms function as fictional facades, ably demonstrating that feeling may flourish in even the most unlikely of prose techniques.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Inventive and emotionally charged, the two novellas in this bookbridge the gap between melancholy and humor. These stories of the aftermath of two relationships are witty examinations of love and heartbreak in an age of technological detachment and shortened attention spans. Nors’ relentlessly paced vision of modern life should not be missed.

PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY: “‘Minna Needs Rehearsal Space’ shows Nors’s economy and perceptiveness. . . . The reader is treated to a cathartic and suspenseful climax.”

BOOKSWEPT: If forevermore we are obliged to think in headlines & status updates, let us sound like Dorthe Nors

ENTROPY MAGAZINEAt times, some lines are so saturated that it’s difficult to carry on without a breath, and at other times, i wanted to flip ahead, to find hope for this speaker (and therefor, myself).

SYCAMORE REVIEW: Nors adresses crucial questions of contemporary existence with great humor and humanity.

VOLKSKRANT (The Netherlands): ***** (five out of five stars): “Penetrating and overwhelming.”

RICK MOODY (The Ice Storm) “Dorthe Nors. SO MUCH FOR THAT WINTER: One of the truly great writers of Western Europe. . . Half (Virginia) Woolf, half (Eudora) Welty.”

MAX PORTER (Grief Is a Thing With Feathers)Gorgeous book!

BOMB MAGAZINE: There’s great humor and unflinching pathos in her examination of modern life in all of its absurdity and loneliness. 

NUMERO CINQ: “In [So Much for That Winter] there is inventiveness and motion, angst and loss, puzzles and minor epiphanies. . . . Nors packs much into her telegraphic works. . . . [The novellas] contain despair, grief, family conflicts, aesthetic pursuits, and the mundane; the two narrators are present, flesh, bone, heart, and spirit.”

THE GAZETTE: Nors writes with the fearlessness of someone used to confronting nature: her work is as steady and unpredictable as the sky. With her keen eye fixed on the power of small, everyday moments, “So Much for That Winter” is a wonderful reminder, both in form and function, of the unexpected joys present in each day.

DIESEL: (…) with Nors’ immediacy, and the wild, overflowing way in which her prose scrolls down the page, it becomes clear that these women will not fade away. They will stay with the reader — defiantly, vibrantly — long after reading.—

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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