The astonishing second volume in Ditlevsen's celebrated autobiographical trilogy - a major publication for Penguin Classics in 2019.
Tove Ditlevsen was born in 1917 in a working-class neighbourhood in Copenhagen. Her first volume of poetry was published when she was in her early twenties, and was followed by many more books, including her three brilliant volumes of memoir, Childhood (1967), Youth (1967) and Dependency (1971). She married four times and struggled with alcohol and drug abuse throughout her adult life until her death by suicide in 1978.
The best books I have read this year ... They act as a
manifesto for art, showing that literature is not the base metal:
it is the process of alchemy, and the gold that results -- John
Self * New Statesman *
Mordant, vibrantly confessional... A masterpiece * Guardian *
Semi-miraculous, raw and poignant ... Radiates the clear light of truth and stands as the ultimate victory of a life that must have felt, in the living of it, like a defeat -- Alex Preston * Observer *
Intense, elegant ... Ditlevsen's portrait of Vesterbro in the Twenties has something of the same texture of Elena Ferrante's description of the poor Neapolitan neighbourhood in which her heroines grow up -- Lucy Scholes * The Daily Telegraph *
Wrenching sadness and pitch-black comedy ... Sharp, tough and tender -- Boyd Tonkin * Spectator *
Ditlevsen's taut, simple prose shines a light on what life and love were like for working-class women in 20th century Copenhagen. Elena Ferrante fans, take note * Stylist *
Despite the darkness that haunts these three books, they shine with Ditlevsen's honesty and humanity ... Her work, seemingly so simple, has the miraculous quality of a life perceived in perfect clarity. Despite the author's untimely death, The Copenhagen Trilogy is a powerful - and uplifting - testament of survival -- Erica Wagner
Incredibly compelling and timely -- Amber Butchard * The Saturday Review *