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DubaiReader

DubaiReader

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Death Stalks Kettle Street
John Bowen

Driving lessons.

Mirror Shoulder Signal - Dorthe Nors


Mirror, Shoulder, Signal was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2017, and like it's colleague, the Man Booker Prize, this seems to imply a somewhat off-the-wall read. I haven't followed the International version of the prize in the past, but it probably represents my taste more than the English version.

 

This is a Danish author, in translation, and if I'm honest, not a lot happens. It's a short book at under 200 pages, and centres around Sonja, a middle-aged woman, who is trying prove something to herself by learning to drive. Her driving instructor won't let her touch the gear lever and changes gear for her, which is understandably frustrating.
She holds down a job translating a crime writer's novels from Swedish to Danish, and as he seems to be quite a well known author, this job gives Sonja some degree of respect. Meanwhile she goes for regular massage with Ellen, a somewhat forward masseuse who reads all sorts if importance into every ache and pain that Sonja confesses to.

 

Living in Copenhagen, Sonja frequently thinks with nostalgia of her childhood in the wilds of Denmark, where her sister, Kate, still lives. Kate avoids answering the phone and Sonja is progressively more frustrated by her inability to contact her sister.

 

"Sonja knows this much about love: there's not much of it in practice, but it's always thrived on people's tongues." (loc 777).

 

The translation was good and I guess I learned a little about life in Denmark, a place I've never been, but this is not a book I'll be encouraging everyone to buy.