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Growing up in a working-class neighbourhood in Copenhagen, Tove feels that her childhood is made for a completely different girl. As 'long, mysterious words begin to crawl across my soul', she comes to understand that she has a vocation that will define her life. Her path seems assured, but she has no idea of the struggles ahead - love affairs, wanted and unwanted pregnancies, artistic failure and destructive addiction. As the years go by, the central tension of Tove's life comes into painful focus- the terrible lure of dependency, in all its forms, and the possibility of living freely and fearlessly - as an artist on her own terms.

 

Details

ISBN: 9780241457573
Series: Penguin Modern Classics
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 384
Publication Date: 26 Jan 2021
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publication City, Country: London, United Kingdom
Dimensions (cm): 19.8(H) x 12.9(L) x 2.1(W)
Weight (gm): 281

 

Reviews

To get it out of the way: these are the best books I have read this year ... Childhood has the simple declarative sentences of Natalia Ginzburg and the pervasive horror of a good fairy story -- John Self * New Statesman *
Mordant, vibrantly confessional... A masterpiece * Guardian *
Semi-miraculous, raw and poignant ... Radiates the clear light of truth and stands as the ultimate victory of a life that must have felt, in the living of it, like a defeat -- Alex Preston * Observer *
Intense, elegant ... Ditlevsen's portrait of Vesterbro in the Twenties has something of the same texture of Elena Ferrante's description of the poor Neapolitan neighbourhood in which her heroines grow up -- Lucy Scholes * The Daily Telegraph *
Wrenching sadness and pitch-black comedy ... Sharp, tough and tender -- Boyd Tonkin * Spectator *
Ditlevsen's taut, simple prose shines a light on what life and love were like for working-class women in 20th century Copenhagen. Elena Ferrante fans, take note * Stylist *
Despite the darkness that haunts these three books, they shine with Ditlevsen's honesty and humanity ... Her work, seemingly so simple, has the miraculous quality of a life perceived in perfect clarity. Despite the author's untimely death, The Copenhagen Trilogy is a powerful - and uplifting - testament of survival -- Erica Wagner
As in much of the best autofiction, the protagonist's weakness is counterpoised by the strength of her voice ... [Ditlevsen speaks] beyond the cruel and disappointing figures she encounters to us, her readers, awaiting her in another time and another place -- Lara Feigel * Guardian *

 

Author Biography

Tove Ditlevsen was born in 1917 in a working-class neighbourhood in Copenhagen. Her first volume of poetry was published when she was in her early twenties, and was followed by many more books, including her three brilliant volumes of memoir, Childhood (1967), Youth (1967) and Dependency (1971). She married four times and struggled with alcohol and drug abuse throughout her adult life until her death by suicide in 1978.
Childhood, Youth, Dependency: The Copenhagen Trilogy
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