This Should Be Written in the Present Tense
2016 Longlist

This Should Be Written in the Present Tense

Translated from the Danish by Martin Aitken
artwork-image

ABOUT
THE BOOK

This should be written in the present tense. But it isn’t.

Dorte should be at uni in Copenhagen. But she’s not.

She should probably put some curtains up in her new place.

And maybe stop sleeping with her neighbour’s boyfriend.

Perhaps things don’t always work out the way they should.

Dorte is twenty and pretending to study literature at Copenhagen University. In fact, she is cut off and adrift, living in a backwater in a bungalow by the rail tracks, riding the trains, clocking up random encounters. She remembers her ex Per – who had wanted to grow old with her, who had stood in tears on the driveway as she left – as a new world opens up: one of transient relationships, casual lovers, and awkward attempts to write. This Should Be Written in the Present Tense is a novel for anyone who has ever been young, sleepless, and a little reckless, trying to figure it all out.

 

ABOUT
THE AUTHOR Helle
Helle

Helle Helle is arguably Denmark’s foremost modern novelist and its most popular. She has been awarded many prizes, including the Danish Critics’ Prize, the Danish Academy’s Beatrice Prize, and the P.O. Enquist Award. She was recently given the Lifetime Award of the Danish Arts Council. Her work has been translated into thirteen languages. This is her first novel to be translated into English.

Photo Credit: Sacha Maric

Helle Helle is arguably Denmark’s foremost modern novelist and its most popular. She has been awarded many prizes, including the Danish Critics’ Prize, the Danish Academy’s Beatrice Prize, and the P.O. Enquist Award. She was recently given the Lifetime Award of the Danish Arts Council. Her work has been translated into thirteen languages. This is her first novel to be translated into English.

Photo Credit: Sacha Maric

ABOUT
THE TRANSLATOR Martin
Aitken

Martin Aitken’s translations of Scandinavian literature are numerous.  His work has appeared on the shortlists of the DUBLIN Literary Award (2017) and the US Book Awards (2018), as well as the 2021 International Booker Prize.  For his translation of Hanne Ørstavik’s Love he received the 2019 PEN America Translation Prize.

 

Martin Aitken’s translations of Scandinavian literature are numerous.  His work has appeared on the shortlists of the DUBLIN Literary Award (2017) and the US Book Awards (2018), as well as the 2021 International Booker Prize.  For his translation of Hanne Ørstavik’s Love he received the 2019 PEN America Translation Prize.

 

NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS

Helle Helle’s dazzling novel vibrates the underlying meaning and captivates the reader into a universe where the surface all the time is about to collapse. A minimalistic realism so precise that it drills deep into the reader and his contemporaries.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Date published
12/01/2016
Country
Denmark
Original Language
Danish
Author
Publisher
Harvill Secker
Translator
Martin Aitken
Translation
Translated from the Danish by Martin Aitken

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