Welcome, people, to the work of Dorthe Nors. I met Dorthe last summer on a residency in Denmark. I’d been told the Danes are the happiest people on earth—they rank highest in the World Database of Happiness [ed: actually, a close second; Costa Rica takes the happiness prize]—and that Danish writers, in particular, are not afflicted with the same malaise, gloom, and despair that seem to beset their peers worldwide. Imagine my delight, then, to find in Dorthe an utterly morbid (and thus entirely winning) sense of humor, and in her bearing the same deadpan intelligence and compassion that motors her work.
Dorthe has an illustrious career in Denmark, but only seven stories published in the United States. Happily, it takes only one story—and really just a paragraph—to note the excellence of this work in its unsentimental and forthright account of people slogging through their lives. As you can tell from “The Winter Garden” (APS 12), these stories are unapologetic. They are compact. They have no patience for conventions of scene—you never know what people look like and rarely how they talk—and caper through time with no regard for the sign posts that organize so much fiction as we know it. The next day. And then. In a Nors story, who knows where or when, and who cares. You are so busy being accosted, which is to say, philandered, by the novelty of voice that announces itself throughout this fiction, you don’t need anything else.Continue reading
The return of the Darlings: new fiction from Tom Drury; Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts in Harlem; John Haskell on the persistence of Eadweard Muybridge; Sarah Manguso on not playing the piano; Antoine Wilson's Panorama City; Pringue v. Proust: Jeffrey Lependorf adapts a memoir of a dinner party; poems by Nick Flynn, Seamus Heaney, Lynn Melnick, and Mary De Rachewiltz; stories by Kiki DeLancey, Patricia Engel, and Dorthe Nors; Noemie Goudal's Les Amants; and Rabih Alameddine, Elizabeth Bowen, Tom Drury, Julian Gough, Mary-Beth Hughes, Samantha Hunt, Peter Orner, Natasha Randall, Marisa Silver, and Corinna Vallianatos on the Inappropriate.