The Familiar & The Absurd — Literature from Copenhagen Virtual Panel with Ida Marie Hede, Ursula Scavenius, Steven Zultanski, &Amp; Tom Conaghan
Where: Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America
58 Park Ave.
212-779-3587 Price: Free
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Join us on January 22 at 2 PM ET for a Virtual Danish Literary Panel with Copenhagen-based authors Ida Marie Hede, Ursula Scavenius, & Steven Zultanski moderated by editor and writer Tom Conaghan! The authors will discuss their newly translated books each exploring themes of the body and intimacy from unique sci-fi perspectives.
Adorable by Ida Marie Hede (translated from Danish by Sherilyn Nicolette Hellberg) is shimmering journey into the absurd phenomenality of family life – and the human microbiome — told in four parts, in Copenhagen and London. The love between B and Q is tender but worn; when their daughter Æ is born, the everyday lights up in a new way. In its second part, the dead are animated in B’s brain. When B’s father dies, the news is delivered to her by phone and an essayistic, collagist meditation on death and transmission ensues. And then, it’s finally Friday. B and Q descend below the living room floor and wander through a cracked and skittish underworld. In Ida Marie Hede’s porous world, which is our world too, grime, bacteria, and even death are intimately bound up with health and renewal. Fusing the commonplace and the profound, the material and the spiritual, the elegiac and the conceptual, Adorable powerfully insists that it is impossible to tell where death and life begin or end.
The Dolls by Urusula Scavenius (translated from Danish by Jennifer Russell) is a collection of four stories from a world both fantastically strange and gruellingly familiar where isolation, ruin, prejudice, and misinformation soar in an irresistible, susurrant fugue of displaced families yearning to belong. The characters are plagued by unexplained illnesses and oblique, human-made disasters and environmental losses: a big sister descends into the family basement; another sister refuses her younger brother; a third sister with memory loss is on the run and offered shelter by Notpla, a man both an ally and an enemy, and a fourth set of siblings travel to Hungary with their late mother in a coffin.
Relief by Steven Zultanski is a book of 11 poems that revolve around familiar experiences of discontinuous time: illness, recovery, habit, sleep, talk, forgetfulness. Most of the texts are built from a number of moving parts that tend to lurch from one to another: transcribed speech, malformed poetry, and sub-allegorical sci-fi narratives. Relief treats health and sickness as inherently shared conditions, both interpersonal and impersonal. Private anxieties are inseparable from communal joys. Care is messed up, disjointed. Mundane conversations are occasions for rest and contentment, or not. Grotesque fantasies are also occasions for rest and contentment, or not. Sweet, intimate, and a little gross, Relief is an intricately detailed and formally uneven affirmation of daily life. It also touches on: body horror, vernacular knowledge of complex systems, juvenile humor, intergenerational psychic structures, banal forms of time travel, the ceaseless circulation of money, bad jobs, alternate dimensions, nostalgia, personal and social grooming, and the pleasures of self-pity.
This event will take place as a Zoom webinar; please ask questions in the chat or send them in advance to [email protected]. Registration is required; please sign up at the link. This conversation will be recorded and available later to stream on our Virtual Programming page and on our YouTube channel.