What Kingdom


Translated from by

Published: April 16th, 2024


ISBN: 9781953861849
This item will be released on April 16, 2024.
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Book Description

Fine Gråbøl’s narrator dreams of furniture flickering to life. A chair that greets you, shiny tiles that follow a peculiar grammar, or a bookshelf that can be thrown on like an apron. Fine’s narrator is obsessed with the way items rise up out of their thingness, assuming personalities and private motives. She lives in a temporary psychiatric care unit for young people in Copenhagen, practicing daily routines that take on the urgency of survival (peeling a carrot, drinking prune juice, listening through thin walls). Gråbøl’s prose demands that you slow down, follow just a footstep behind as she charts a wisdom of her own.  

It has been a privilege to read this extraordinary work. The unnamed narrator’s absolute vulnerability is transformed into compelling beauty by the authority and precision of her language. I love the pace of the writing. How, after a passage in which the raw pain and hurt break through into anger, a sentence of clear transcendent poetry can follow. The perfect emotional control is astonishing. It is a very exposing, brave book. It lays open the narrator’s frustration at her inability to be heard, to be considered, within the cold strictures of the institution where she passes her days: "the basis of our lives is powerlessness plus capitulation." I was riveted by the attention to detail – it demands our attention, in return; the objective way the narrator perceives the confined world she lives in, without a trace of self-pity, compels us to know she is speaking the truth. There is an urgent need for the system to be changed, for an individual to be listened to, not just dealt with. This book makes us listen.
Celia Paul

An incredibly moving and gripping novel... so sure-footed, clear, vibrating, like chiffon or a cigarette.
Olga Ravn