Kalle’s Book Picks: Scandinavian Female Authors

Explore these five books written by women across Scandinavia, hand picked by DIS Librarian, Kalle Weis-Fogh. Delve into Scandinavian culture with one of these literary masterpieces.

Helle Helle (2011) – This Should be Written in The Present Tense

Danish author Helle Helle writes in a very dry prose about people and places, which at first glance seems almost dull and everyday. Scratch beneath the surface and there is a certain almost caustic wit about both prose and storyline. This Should be Written in The Present Tense follows a young female student Dorthe and her, seemingly, fairly uneventful life.  

Sofi Oksanen (2008) – Purge

Claimed by both Finns and Estonians as one of ‘theirs.’ Purge is set in Estonia and follows the, relative, recent history of the young nation from the 2nd World War to Independence in 1992. This is done through a story line which is both personal and political. The story circles the internal questions of guilt and remorse and externally deals with sex trafficking and the relations between people from the Baltic states and their neighbors.

Sara Stridsberg (2006) – The Faculty of Dreams

Swedish author Sara Stridsberg’s book, The Faculty of Dreams is the story of Valerie Solanas who attempted to assassinate Andy Warhol and who wrote “The SCUM Manifesto.” The Faculty of Dreams does not follow the traditional narrative rules and can be a slightly tricky read. It is worth the effort though, to get an introduction to the world Valerie Solanas and the trials and tribulations she went through.

Åsne Seierstad (2002) – The Bookseller of Kabul

Seierstad’s non-fiction about the real life bookseller in Kabul, Afghanistan is a slightly controversial book. Seierstad, a journalist, went to live with a bookseller and his family in Kabul. The book describes the Afghan society from the inside, the arranged marriages, the stories of Soviet occupation and the dogmas of traditional Islam. Seierstad was later accused of defamation by the bookseller she portrayed, but was acquitted after two trials. 

Naja Marie Aidt (2006) – Baboon

Naja Marie Aidt’s Baboon is a collection of fifteen short stories. The stories revolve around some of the, perhaps, less attractive sides to being a human being. Aidt writes about illness, misogyny, heartbreak, and other somewhat dark subjects. However, through it all, in the dissection of what also constitutes being a human in the 21st century, she manages to retain a sense that through the trials of life, these are also the things that shapes us as humans.

Kalle has a Masters in Library and Information Science from the Royal School of Information Science in Copenhagen. He lives in the Frederikberg area of Copenhagen with his family and many books and records. His interest in literature focuses on Crime Fiction, US/UK & Scandinavian writers and books for Children. He also enjoys the occasional cup of coffee and/or glass of wine.

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