A few recent reads

Autumn landscape

It is hard to keep up a book blog when you are not reading very much, but fortunately there have been some gems among the the few books I have read during the last few months.

Winter’s child by Dea Trier Mørch

Dea Trier Mørch is the author of one of my favourite novels, Kastaniealleen, which I don’t think have been translated into English, but this was my first read of her most famous work. Winter’s child is set in a maternity ward in Copenhagen during the 1970s. As I’ve understood it Mørch got frustrated by the lack of realistic descriptions of pregnancies and labour in art and literature, and wrote the novel to fill that void. I believe that she was successful, by framing it as a collective novel, although we do get to follow some characters closer than others, she is able to cover a wide range of experiences. Of course this also means that not every storyline has a happy ending, but overall I found it to be a warm and optimistic read, and I did like it very much. A few aspects in the writing and story seemed dated, e.g. I doubt wine is served in modern Danish maternity wards, and the author’s socialist leanings makes it slightly dogmatic in some places, but that slightly dated aspect that also helped soften some of the sadder outcomes. The novel is illustrated by the author’s own prints.

The housekeeper and the professor by Yoko Ogawa

Very different from the previous novel, but another really good read, The housekeeper and the professor is a quiet and sweet story about the friendship between a professor who has lost his ability to form new long-term memories, his housekeeper, and her son. As a former professor in mathematics numbers are one of the few things that remain constant in the professor’s life, something he can rely on when his memories are always lost, and numbers and mathematical theories form a large part of the communication between the three. I have read novels with a mathematical theme before, and despite loving mathematics I rarely think that they work, but this one I really enjoyed.

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3 thoughts on “A few recent reads

  1. I always look forward to your posts so don’t worry if they’re few and far between, good to hear how you’re doing generally. 🙂

    I’ve been present at our three children’s births – each one, roughly 5 years apart, a very different experience and the last a home birth – so may give your first read a miss, although it sounds very worthwhile! But the Yoko Ogawa I’ve seen other positive comments about so I don’t think I’d pass on that one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I completely understand skipping Winter’s child, I did for many years despite loving one of her other novels. It is very good if you are in a mood for reading about pregnancies and child birth, but otherwise not so much. Too bad Kastaniealleen hasn’t been translated, I think that would have been a better match for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the idea of wine in the maternity ward! The Housekeeper and the Professor sounds very good and is a new author for me, so thank you. Numbers scare me to death but the patterns they make I do enjoy and doesn’t put me off reading this!

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