NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW: Unsettling and poetic. . . . Some pieces, like one about a four-pound tomato, are oddly beautiful; others are brilliantly disturbing (more HERE)
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (Starred review): Nors’s writing doesn’t just observe the details of life—online searches, laundry, fantasies, conversations with semi-strangers, compulsions—it offers a marvelous, truthful take on how these details illustrate our souls. (Read more HERE)
PARIS REVIEW “WHAT WER’RE LOVING”: Dorthe Nors is a writer of moments—quiet, raw portraits of existential meditation, at times dyspeptic, but never unsympathetic. (Read more HERE)
THE INDEPENDENT, U.K.: Great Dane. Queen of the Scandi short: Dorthe Nors.
THE GUARDIAN: This gripping collection of short stories leaves you wanting more – and then delivers, with a portrait of a musician that reinvents the novella. (…) How often can we honestly say that a book is unlike anything else? Yet here it is, unique in form and effect. (on Karate Chop & Minna Needs Rehearsal Space – read the review HERE)
THE TIMES: Nors has a great knack, reminiscent of the early Lorrie Moore, for portraying the voids and fault lines in an unbalanced mind (…) crisp, quirky, jarringly funny!
FINANCIAL TIMES: Stories that takes merciless aim at families, relationships and egos (…) darkly funny and incisive
BOOKLIST: In the span of two pages, she is able to both build and unmake a character, achieving the same complexity that other writers require entire novels to establish. (…) Karate Chop is the first of Nors’ books to be translated to English but certainly won’t be the last. Lovers of the art of literary fiction, students of psychology, and everyone looking for a quick, thought- provoking read should all indulge themselves in the subversive delight of this short story collection.
VOGUE: The short-short stories in Danish sensation Nors’s slim, potent collection, Karate Chop . . . Evoke the weirdness and wonder of relating in the digital age.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Nors illuminates an ominous world of disconnected people trying to make sense of their dislocation…Nors’ affectless, matter-of-fact storytelling…is the perfect complement to the low-wattage desperation and inertia her characters feel…Karate Chop is just like that: It loves you andwants to teach you, but it also wants to harm you (more HERE)
OPRAH: “In this collection of stories, Danish fiction comes off a little like Danish furniture, spare and sublime. Author Dorthe Nors knows how to capture the smallest moments and sculpt them into the unforgettable.” (more HERE)
ELLE: “The intricately crafted stories in Karate Chop, from popular Danish writer Dorthe Nors, focus on ordinary occurrences . . . and then twist them intobrilliantly slanted cautionary tales about desire, romance, deception, and dread.”
BOOKSELLERS, UK: “By stripping back the narrative text Nors creates an incredibly direct and forceful short story. Stick with her, it’s worth it.” (on Minna)
STAR TRIBUNE: Karate Chop” is a collection of brittle, blackly comic and quietly explosive stories that provide snapshots of modern Danish life and home in at daring angles to highlight the quirks, agonies and vulnerabilities of the human condition. . . . The result reads like a master class in compression, precision and economy of language (more HERE)
THE NEW YORK JOURNAL OF BOOKS: “Precisely crafted and melancholy stories. . . . Karate Chop displays an admirable willingness to take on difficult stories, and Dorthe Nors tells these difficult stories very well.” (more HERE)
THE DAILY BEAST: Not dissimilar to the melancholic interior scenes painted by Vilhelm Hammershøi, numerous films by Thomas Vinterberg, and even the churning sounds of composer Niels Gade, these stories look underneath deceptively quiet surfaces, finding undercurrents that may never fully express themselves but repetitively hint at their constant presence. . . . Peppered with themes of memory, violence, loss, and separation, these pages quietly announce a confident and valuable new voice in translated fiction.
KIRKUS REVIEW: These amuse-bouches are a fine introduction to the author’s work. (Read more HERE)
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Horror and comedy both require timing, and Dorthe Nors has it. The stories in her newly translated collection “Karate Chop” are less meditations on human savagery than riffs on it, understated monologues of everydayness through which the horror surfaces like a joke. Blink and you might miss the punch line, whether it’s a suitcase full of body parts or a more ordinary dismemberment. (more HERE)
TATE STREET: Nors explores the violence that subtends the human heart and recalls Flannery O’Connor at her damned best: mordant, unflinching, even scathing.
THE HERALD, U.K. But my favourite discovery was Minna Needs Rehearsal Space by the ferociously-talented Danish writer Dorthe Nors (…). It’s a very short novella that takes the form of a series of ‘headlines’, each stacked on top of one another. A device that’s maddening for the first few lines, it settles down and becomes a powerful driver through a beautiful, moving, totally compelling account of one woman’s yearning. I simply can’t wait for Nors’s next English translation.
TIN HOUSE: “Nors’ stories are brief and exploratory, not creating meaning, but allowing the story to assemble meaning.”
BOOKCOURT: Maybe allot ten or fifteen minutes to read one story, and then many, many more minutes to puzzle over how it is you’ve just been karate chopped(!) in the jugular by the writing in Nors’ first book to be translated from Danish into English
THE RUMPUS: Exceptional. . . . Nors is adroit at offering powerful summation at the precise moment with a single cutting phrase or an unexpected observation. . . . These brief realistic stories provide universal insight into an everyday, modern existence (more HERE)
BOOKTRUST, U.K.: Pushkin Press presents a stunningly original new voice from Denmark. (…) Dorthe Nors has the fabulous talent, crucial in short story writing, of restraint. (…) the arrival of a major new voice in European literature.
BROOKLYN DAILY: Each piece, while deceptively short, contains enormous power and offers keen insight into the brief, sometimes overlooked, but often lifechanging moments of our lives. I can’t wait to see more from this writer (more HERE)
MARIE CLAIRE: “In this slim collection of stories, the Danish Nors examines everyday issues with intensity and force.”
LARGEHEARTED BOY: Dorthe Nors acutely Karate Chop mines the unexpected and explosive from everyday lives in this brilliantly understated short story collection. (more HERE)
THE ATLANTIC: Karate Chop marks the arrival of a new literary talent to American shores. The longest story in the collection is nine pages, and most are only three or four—surprising narratives that brim with associative richness. Each piece is brief, unpredictable, and thrilling as a blown-up balloon’s flight, held by the nozzle and let go. (interview HERE)
CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER: “These incisive short pieces . . . Move quickly to twisty endings.”
SHELF AWARENESS FOR READERS – STARRED REVIEW: The stories in Karate Chop are as tremendous as they are brief. . . . With each story weighing in at a mere four or five pages, Nors doesn’t waste any time delivering a knockout. . . . [Nors’s] spare prose and scrupulous structures leave her stories feeling haunted by the scent of warm laundry and gasoline, the ache of love and fresh bruises and the sound of a direct hit reverberating in ambient normalcy. . . . Striking.
KGB BAR LIT MAGAZINE: Karate Chop brings a sly, steady voice in a collection of fifteen varying stories.(…) The most compelling aspect of Nors’ art is what unifies the collection: the author’s insistence on giving us what is, not what it looks like. (more HERE)
THE LADY MAGAZINE, U.K. (on KC and Minna). :astoundingly disturbing and curiously beautiful
STRAIGHT MAGAZINE: Nors … has an excellent sense of proportion. She lets all kinds of fascinating details linger around the periphery, giving the reader glimpses of a larger fictional world that always stays just out of reach … Given her résumé, it’s entirely possible I’ve come across one of Nors’s stories in a magazine, only to flip right past it. After spending a day entranced by Karate Chop, I won’t make that mistake again. (more HERE)
BOOKANISTA, U.K.: One of Denmark’s most inventive and acclaimed contemporary writers, Dorthe Nors’ story collection Karate Chop and her novella Minna Needs Rehearsal Space are now published together in a special back-to-back edition. Her spare, poetic, ominously disturbing stories present disconnected lives at critical moments of change – while the novella is a playful experiment in finding mood and meaning in the staccato prose of the newspaper headline or social media status update.
CURIOUS ANIMAL MAGAZINE, U.K.: Nors’ stories are unpredictable, poetic and powerful, with comedy, hope and surrealism alongside mental illness, violence and tragedy – clearly there’s more to the Danes and Danish life that being the UN-declared ‘Happiest People In The World”.
NEWPAGES: “—though writ small, still deadly. … Nors describes so precisely the facets of vulnerability and self-delusion, as well as the high price that must be paid in life for self-protection.”
HAZEL & WREN: Although Karate Chop is Nors’ first English translation, she has five other novels just waiting to be translated for eager audiences. Since you can’t read her novels yet, whet your appetite with Karate Chop. You won’t even need a cup of coffee to keep you awake.
A READING LIFE: The author’s combination of economical prose and the short length of the stories themselves leads to a streamlined and ultimately pleasing effect. This is the first book translated into English by this Danish author and hopefully not the last.
LITSTACK: … these short offerings, are highly effective and feel intensely personal …“Karate Chop” …pulls at you, like a strong undercurrent on an otherwise seemingly peaceful river.
COOPER STREET JOURNAL: … just as Alice Munro seems to fit a novel’s worth of complexity into a twenty-page story, Nors can take the weight of a dense twenty-page story and fit it snugly into four or five. It’s a talent all short story writers should study.
COLUMBUS ALIVE: Think of her as a modern, Danish Flannery O’Connor. The author’s direct, almost flat prose serves her droll and darkly imaginative short stories well, elevating each two- or three-page piece into a lingering mix of the mundane, familiar and puzzling.
COMPLETE REVIEW: pitch-perfect; unsettling
LOS ANGELES REVIEW OF BOOKS: Nors’s stories are timeless and universal.
DAVID HEBBLETHWAITE, U.K (on Minna): It’s a superb piece of translation by Misha Hoekstra, the sort that makes me wish I could read Danish, just to experience the music that the original must surely possess. Still, I have the music of the English version to enjoy.
Ideas and emotions are quick in arriving, equally quick to shift meaning as we read forward. This technique has much in common with aspects of karate; when one arm strikes forward the other draws back, and the arm drawing back is equal in importance to the arm striking forward. Nors knows and understands so much about us; her perceptions frequently shock with their acuity, though within seconds you recognize them as, yes, true. Daniel Woodrell (Winter’s Bone)
Reading Dorthe Nors’s work, one is reminded of the thrills and dangers of living. Memories, laughter, a gesture: everything casts a shadow, meaningful or mysterious. These stories prove that no loss is too small, and each moment counts.” Yiyun Li
This collection is a marvel. It takes only one story – and really just a paragraph – to note the excellence of this work in its unsentimental and fortright account of people slogging through their lives.” Fiona Maazel (Last Last Chance & Woke Up Lonely)
Beautiful faceted haunting stories . . . Dorthe Nors is fantastic . . . a rising star of Danish letters. Junot Díaz
MY STORY “THE HERON” IN THE NEW YORKER – read it HERE
MIN NOVELLE “HEJREN” I THE NEW YORKER – læs mere HER
Karate Chop was published by Graywolf Press February 4th, 2014. It is the first A Public Space book published by Graywolf. Read more HERE