Mirror , Shoulder , Signal by Dorthe Nors

Mirror, Shoulder , signal by Dorthe Nors

Danish fiction

Original title – Spejl, skulder, blink

Translator – Misha Hoekstra

Source – personnel copy

This was the second book I read after the longlist was announced on th train home from london book fair is where I read this book although only a few weeks ago it seems an age . I was in two minds about this one first I had read some great Scandinavian female writers in recent years . But Dorthe Nors first books was rather hyped when it came out and I am always wary of hype . So this short novel was one of two books I brought in london yes even after two pushkin press weeks i rarely get books sent by them shame . So this is hype or not hype

He pointed to the spot on her throat where they were supposed to imagine her breathing had gotten blocked. He did the Hemlich on her , his fingers up in her face, inside her collar up and down her arms.At one point he put her into a stranglehold, but that wasn’t the worst of it . The worst was when they had to do the exercises themselves. It was humiliating to be placed in the recovery position by a boy of eighteen,It also made her dizzy .

At the driving school Of folkie she has to do first aid and a nod to her balance problem

the story follows Sonja , I must admit now I have been thinking about the book today I actually connect a bit with Sonja more than I did when I read the book she is like me in her mid forties . But unlike me her relationship she is a translator (another odd connection !! lol ) and her partner a fellow translator has left her he is translating a big star of Swedish crime fiction !thou she finds this crime fiction overly bloody at times  so she tries meditation and she is now trying to reconnect to her sister and also like me I have just decided to start driving . She has two instructors thou they won’t even let her change gears yet , she is their oldest pupil . Then add to this she is drifting in her m ind ot her past maybe in a way retracing those steps she took that lead her to where she is now . This is a woman in a sot of modern mid-life crisis that isn’t a crisis she has lost her connection to the world with no partner and no family tie she is drifting .

Sonja’s come to a standstill in front of her mirror .A  short while before, she was on her way through the bedroom , sandal in hand, when she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror on the inside of her wardrobe. It looked as if kate were standing in the wardrobe . That’s weird , she thought. Kate and I never resembled each other, So She stepped over to the mirror to have a proper look.

Kate’s got two sons and her husband Frank.When they’re in Copenhagen , they make a beeline for Tivoli, but other wise they go around  trying to disguise the facts that they’re from Jutland.

Sonja thinking on the sister she has no contact with now .

I initially really didn’t get this book , but since I read it .I have grown to like to Sonja is hapless in a way more of a character that is in a classic comic works by the likes of Wodehouse . The way she is hapless in her various quests to reconnect to her sister  no joy , driving her instructors holding her back and even her job she get pain typing and hates what she works on at times . This is bare of lot more a link series of adventures rather like the cuisine that has swept Denmark in recent year where everything is local but is the also cut back so everything in the meal is just enough to give ut taste and not to many tastes . Like the other Danish novels I have read by Pia Juul and Helle Helle plot is twisted this is a midlife crisis stripped to the bare a woman struggling to get balance , even she has an inner ear problem meaning that this is both actual and literal balance she is struggling for in her own life .A quirky fun novel about struggling to be middle aged and with no one !


12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa Hill
    Apr 16, 2017 @ 00:10:13

    Well done, Stu:) By my reckoning you’ve done seven of the longlist so far, which is amazing under the circumstances. Could you please check here to see if I’ve listed all yours on the combined reviews page? https://anzlitlovers.com/2017/03/28/2017-man-booker-international-prize-longlist-combined-shadow-jury-reviews/


  2. 1streading
    Apr 16, 2017 @ 13:46:43

    I think Sonja represents a lot of people in middle-age wondering, ‘How did I get here?’ This did suffer from not being as good as her debut, however.


  3. Annabel (gaskella)
    Apr 16, 2017 @ 17:02:42

    I didn’t take my driving test until I was 40 – and 7 months pregnant. I’m rather longing to read this one to spot the differences. Tee hee!


  4. Trackback: Mirror, Shoulder, Signal by Dorthe Nors (translated by Misha Hoekstra, Man Booker International Prize 2017 long list) | Dolce Bellezza
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  6. Bellezza
    Apr 17, 2017 @ 14:16:26

    When you said she has no partner and no family ties, she is drifting, it made me sad and therefore a little more compasssionate. When I read this, all I could see was a whining woman who needed to fix things, but I am not very patient with weakness. When I struggle in my life, I force myself to carry on and find another way without dwelling too much on what has made me sad. Clearly, so many people are not like that.


  7. Trackback: 2017 Man Booker International Prize Shortlist | Messenger's Booker (and more)
  8. fulcherkim
    Apr 21, 2017 @ 11:59:44

    Good to read a positive review after several bemused ones (including mine) – perhaps the judges weren’t as daft as I thought to shortlist it!


  9. Tony
    Apr 26, 2017 @ 07:16:30

    Hmm – very positive. Not sure mine will be *quite* as full of praise 😉


  10. Trackback: That was the months that was March April 2017 | Winstonsdad's Blog
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April 2017


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