Copenhagen, 1968. Lise, a children's book writer and married mother of three, is becoming increasingly haunted by disembodied faces and taunting voices. Convinced that her housekeeper and husband are plotting against her, she descends into a terrifying world of sickness, pills and institutionalization. But is sanity in fact a kind of sickness? And might mental illness itself lead to enlightenment? Brief, intense and haunting, Ditlevsen's novel recreates the experience of madness from the inside, with all the vividness of lived experience.



ISBN: 9780241391914
Series: Penguin Modern Classics
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 144
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 0.8(W)
Weight (gm): 112



If you’re struggling with your own sanity or a dysfunctional family, I recommend this novel about a lovely lady’s descent into madness as her marriage disintegrates. Perspective! If you are familiar with Ditlevsen’s mesmerising autobiography(re-released last year by Penguin) then you will know what to expect…a dauntingly honest but elegant and funny storyteller.  From the Ariel Team

The fact that Ditlevsen was herself one of insanity's intimates does much to explain this book's harrowing authenticity. But The Faces - in Tiina Nunnally's very deliberate, close-to-the-nerve translation - rises above a case study because, working from the inside, Ditlevsen is able to explore the surprising contours of Lise's experience: from her point of view, madness can be funny, soft and secure, and far more enlightening than the "reality" it struggles to evade * The New York Times *
A searing but never sensational account of a usually hyped theme - the struggle of the artist to do her work, without guilt about family or the outside world. Admirably without self-pity, and often ironic, Ditlevsen is a voice to heed * Kirkus *
these are the best books I have read this year 'Praise for the Copenhagen Trilogy' -- John Self * New Statesman *
Mordant, vibrantly confessional... A masterpiece 'Praise for the Copenhagen Trilogy' * Guardian *
Wrenching sadness and pitch-black comedy ... Sharp, tough and tender 'Praise for the Copenhagen Trilogy' -- Boyd Tonkin * Spectator *
An inspired pick, especially for those readers whose introduction to Ditlevsen's work has been the Copenhagen Trilogy * Paris Review *


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. Tiina Nunnally is an award-winning translator and author. She translates works from Danish, Norwegian and Swedish. She was awarded the prostigeous PEN Translation Prize in 2001.
The Faces

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