Nominated by:

Aarhus Kommunes Biblioteker, Denmark

Publisher of nominated edition:

Deep Velum Books, USA

Of Darkness

Josefine Klougart      

Translated from the Danish by Martin Aitken

In this genre-bending apocalyptic novel Josefine Klougart fuses myriad literary styles in poetic meditations on life and death interspersed with haunting imagery. Her experimental novel asks readers to reconsider death, asserting sorrow and loss as beautiful and necessary aspects of living.

Hailed as “the Virginia Woolf of Scandinavia,” Klougart mixes prose, lyric essay, drama, poetry, and images to breathtaking effect in her writing, and Of Darkness, coming on the heels of Open Letter’s release of Klougart’s English-language debut One of Us is Sleeping, marks the arrival of a wholly new literary talent and original voice in world literature.

About the author

Josefine Klougart is considered one of Scandinavia’s most important writers. She made her literary debut in 2010 with the novel Rise and Fall, which was nominated for the prestigious Nordic Council Literature Prize. The following year, Klougart was awarded the Danish Royal Prize for Culture. Her third novel, One of Us is Sleeping, was also nominated for a Nordic Council Literature Prize, making her the youngest author ever nominated twice for this prominent award. Of Darkness, her most recent novel, appeared in Denmark in 2014 to universal critical acclaim and became a massive bestseller in Denmark and Norway. The novel was nominated for two major literary prizes in Denmark and marked the arrival of a wholly new literary talent in world literature. Klougart studied art history and literature at Aarhaus University and graduated in 2010 from the Danish Writer’s School in Copenhagen. She has worked as an art and theatre critic and has published a number of essays for Danish radio and newspapers. Her work has also appeared in several American journals, including Salamander and World Literature Today. She currently resides in Denmark and is the editor of Den Blå Port, one of Denmark’s most prestigious literary journals.

About the translator

Martin Aitken is an award-winning translator of Scandinavian literature. His translations include novels by authors such as Dorthe Nors, Peter Høeg, Helle Helle and Pia Juul. He was awarded the American-Scandinavian Foundation’s Nadia Christensen Translation Prize, and has been longlisted for both the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Aitken’s co-translation with Don Bartlett of the sixth book in Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle sextology was published in 2017.

Librarian’s comments:

Klougart’s novel relates skinlessly to the human condition. Of Darkness becomes a kin to basic research in what it means to be human. An attempt to catch the sensation – to see, hear, experience. Once again Klougart, with her particularly lyrical voice and impressionistic style, extends the boundaries of what can be said in a novel.

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