A birch tree. An author trying to stop writing. An incorruptible 5-year-old girl. A patient editor. An engineer lost in time. An exhibitionist giant cat with huge balls. An archangel from the order of housewives. Violence, death, sex, art, and love.
Bulgakov’s Cat is a lewd and sentimental defense of art and humanity. Not a pebble in your shoe, but a black pearl. Touching and obscene, fine and despairing. You won’t know whether to laugh, cry or masturbate.
Adda Djørup has written a fun, uncomfortable novel about a virile cat… Bulgakov’s Cat is reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland – as a grotesque farce.
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Bulgakov’s Cat is fantastically inventive, a fable as humorous as it is serious, about a woman who wishes that she didn’t want anything… Djørup’s prose rings with desperate laughter, satire, tenderness, the grotesque and the critical. And she writes devilishly well.
Bulgakov’s Cat is a witty and violent novel about trying to unite all of the conflicting needs and wishes that we humans carry around. The novel is sometimes entirely down to earth, other times up in the clouds. The journey is exciting no matter what, and Adda Djørup is definitely worth the flight.
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How wonderfully ingenious it is; how provocative it is to read… There is a mixture of heavenly inspiration and filthy Tourette’s syndrome in her texts that together produce a piece that is wilful, fierce and energetic… Bulgakov’s Cat is its own thing: adventurous, disturbing, metaliterary and obscene.
Poetry and Other Forms of Defiance
Two-hundred and forty pigs on coke on a golf course. A happy murderess in Paris. A human who wants to be a dog. Three graces from hell in variety show costumes. A horny, crying doctor at a train station. Twelve tipsy poets. An unfaithful bride. A Greek chorus and a blackberry bush. A little bell that rings.
Poetry and Other Forms of Defiance consists of sixteen short stories about defying the world and death, sorrow and illness. And one poem about insomnia.
She has a formidable eye for all that she herself so precisely calls ‘hopelessly funny or strange or disgusting – and absolutely outrageous,’ but what is more, she manages to shape her vibrant, dynamic language so that the writing actually nestles itself up against every state of mind, every mood. That, in itself, is a triumph, a life-affirming revolt of language.
But it is not defiance of the bitter or defiance of the rejected, nor is it the defiance of the anti-authority mooner. It is defiance as surplus energy, like life shouting from the rooftops and bubbly cheerfulness in spite of all adversity and misery. Adda Djørup’s writes so gushingly that it awakens even the sleepiest and cheers up even the most sad. But also so unrelentingly about the heavy stuff that even a stone would be moved.
Often one would note, with praise: I forgot that I was reading a book because it was so exciting – I was seduced! But here, happily, one doesn’t forget that it is writing, while simultaneously being seduced by the plot, or seduced in parallel, delightfully cross-eyed: I constantly wanted to know what was hidden behind each inventive corner and at the same time, I was delighted by the twists of the writing. Writing that is literary through and through and never tries to erase itself for the sake of the plotline.
The collection of short stories showcases Adda Djørup as one of the most important authors of our time, with a language, a style, a perfection that is rivalled by few in contemporary Danish literature. Read this book! Again and Again! Djørup is unique.
There is a swish several places in these short texts, precise turns at the stories’ ends that seem easy and self-evident, but are in fact expressions of both elegant skill and deep insight.
37 Postcards is a collection of poems fashioned as postcards to the living and the dead. The sender is a woman expecting a baby, who suddenly emerges into this world, takes its first steps, says its first words. The scenery surrounding the woman switches between Italy and Denmark, the seasons come and go, people live and die. 37 Postcards is built up of the deep contradictions of existence.
Adda Djørup writes about life, in light of pregnancy and birth, in a way that is damned, dazzlingly beautiful, sensitive, furious, fragile and intimately true… And I can, without reservation, say that 37 Postcards is the best poetry collection of
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The 37 postcards are at once delicate and durable.
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“Each text is concise, fragmented and energetic like many a postcard can be, but we’re not reading small talk or ‘send money’ requests. Instead, it is a proper story.
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The Least Resistance
Emma Dombernovsky, a woman in her thirties, has completely organized her life so as to be able to practise in the best possible way what she calls the minimal hedonism of thinking, i.e. to think without a purpose other than to enjoy the very act of thinking. Emma’s husband, JC, goes away for six weeks on a research trip and Emma’s beloved grandmother dies, leaving her a summer cottage in a fashionable resort in her will. Here she takes a long holiday, meeting, among others, a surfer and a rich man’s daughter passing through, and befriending the local grave digger. She spends her time thinking, skimming stones, considering what to do with her grandmother’s ashes and generally allowing herself to be led by circumstance. As autumn approaches, she is pregnant without knowing who the father of the child is.
The book was awarded the EU Literary Prize, 2010
Emma has a vice which she calls ‘the minimal hedonism of thinking’. Combined with her formidable ability for observation, this so-called vice becomes the catalyst for some very funny reflections. But these would be nothing if Adda Djørup, in such fine form, didn’t allow her archaic use of language to unfold. As Emma’s character is also tailor- made to become swaddled in just such a grip of language, one simply cannot wish for more – perfectly moulded!
It is a work that lives from a brilliant presentation of a situation; we are witnessing selected instances in the human comedy. Some highly sensual, others unsentimentally invoking recognition, blended with a friendly satire not lacking a certain sting, all of which carried along by a refined sense of humour and a very fine eye for the both touching and foolish progress of the human race on Earth.
Adda Djørup writes far better than practically all the writers who live off the ups and downs of the suspense curve. It is simply a pleasure to be in the company of young Emma … The style is slightly archaic, old-world, and it all oozes with excess.
Adda Djørup writes humorously, intelligently and elegantly.
The Least Resistance’ is a small, but intense, novel that gives the reader something to think about and get the thoughts flowing. Djørup writes fantastically, solemnly and yet unsnobbishly … It is a pleasure to see such a new author exhibit such a large and impressive self-assurance. In the structure of the plot as well as her remarkable way of playing with the language. One can only look forward to more from Djørup’s pen.
If one were to begin to ask oneself
In 16 short stories, the boundary between the fantastic and the realistic is explored: Three children live out a dramatic triangle; a hide-bound rationalist sees ghosts; a senile woman writes letters to a secret lover; a young mother rides the local train every night wearing an artificial full beard; a university lecturer gives birth to brightly coloured birds from her mouth; a female dancer achieves artistic perfection and steps out of reality; a torturer enjoys his retirement…
The book was awarded The Danish National Arts Foundation Award for new publications, 2007
Adda Djørup is a completely unique voice in recent Danish literature … Adda Djørup can write long sentences, she can construct smooth passages and abrupt shifts, but she can also lead the reader by the beard in the twisting maze of her prose … One can go on revisiting Djørup’s short stories and constantly find something new in them. There is a great talent at work here, with and without the beard.
This is biting social criticism at a high linguistic level. There where the cracks show in linguistic clichés and professional cynicism. It’s actually hard to finish Adda Djørup’s book because, as a reader, one gets the urge to begin to ask oneself.”
Adda Djørup tells 16 tall tales full of grace, maturity and linguistic quick-change turns. Her collection of short stories is a divine little heartbreaker which leaves the reader in a fever of yearning: more!
On the front cover of Adda Djørup’s collection of short stories If One Were To Begin To Ask Oneself the author is pictured wearing a large black beard – as a reminder that she is a true juggler who can freely choose the roles she will put into play.
If one were to begin to ask oneself whether literature has died, to the advantage of biographies and minor literary amusement phenomena, one would just have to read Adda Djørup’s prose debut.
Monsieur is a figure resembling a demiurge, equipped with a good portion of humour and a nagging awareness of his own fictional nature.
Poets play first and foremost with language, with words. Adda Djørup has an obvious talent for this. She is also good at playing with attitudes and isn’t afraid of playing with gravitas.
What does it mean to be omnipotent? Eternal? Undivided? One? How does it feel to be both the beginning and the end, plus the infinity of what lies in between? … To find her way into and out of all this, Adda Djørup installs herself quite dauntlessly in Monsieur’s brain and identifies with him, or she describes his many different activities … It is, as you can probably see and hear, amusing and musical … But it is, as already inferred, simultaneously profoundly serious. An erratic course between emptiness and fullness, between the great nothingness and the diversity of creation. Added to the joy at the diversity, there is also, characteristically enough, a pleasure at the deployment of numerous very different poetic techniques … Interesting. Not easy to let go of. And above all, funny and intelligent. It is quite a long time since we have seen such a wilfully different, from a literary point of view almost fully mature, début.
Let’s hope that Adda Djørup quickly follows up on this impressive debut and writes about what happens when Monsieur dissolves into reality.
5 out of 6 stars.
Adda Djørup makes her debut with exceedingly charming and thoughtful prose poems.