A Line in the World
- “[A] luminous set of reflections. . . . An intricate reckoning with a world that, despite our best attempts to tame it, remains elemental and wild.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Dorthe Nors’s first nonfiction book chronicles a year she spent traveling along the North Sea coast—from Skagen at the northern tip of Denmark to the Frisian Islands in the Wadden Sea. In fourteen expansive essays, Nors traces the history, geography, and culture of the places she visits while reflecting on her childhood and her family and ancestors’ ties to the region as well as her decision to move there from Copenhagen. She writes about the ritual burning of witch effigies on Midsummer’s Eve; the environmental activist who opposed a chemical factory in the 1950s; the quiet fishing villages that surfers transformed into an area known as Cold Hawaii starting in the 1970s. She connects wind turbines to Viking ships, thirteenth-century church frescoes to her mother’s unrealized dreams. She describes strong waves, sand drifts, storm surges, shipwrecks, and other instances of nature asserting its power over human attempts to ignore or control it.
Through a deep, personal engagement with this singular landscape, A Line in the World accesses the universal. Its ultimate subjects are civilization, belonging, and change: changes within one person’s life, changes occurring in various communities today, and change as the only constant of life on Earth.
VIRTUAL: Dorthe Nors reading and in conversation with Brigid Hughes on A LINE IN THE WORLD, presented by A Public Space and The Center for Fiction
Presented virtually on Zoom. Free and open to the public. Click here for registration information and more details. Copies of A Line in the World can be purchased online at The Center for Fiction's bookstore.
- “A Line in the World is . . . one of the first books to capture the unique region in English. In prose that is as sparse and quiet as the marshy Jutland peninsula itself, the book provides a snapshot of life in a location that is full of history and at the same time ever-shifting, its future uncertain.”—Courtney Tenz, The Washington Post
- “A revelation. In 14 eloquent, observant essays that combine journalism, nature writing and memoir, Nors paints a vivid portrait of a remote and rugged territory whose striking scenery masks more than its share of dangers. . . . A Line in the World will appeal to a wide audience of discerning and curious readers.”—Shelf Awareness
- “Languorous and evocative. . . . The dramas of the past are evoked not so much through individual characters as through their traces—buildings, ruins, shipwrecks . . . ancient landscapes steeped in myth. . . . Nature is at the heart of this beautiful book.”—Claire Messud, Harper's
- “[Nors] orients herself among dust and dirt, sea and sand, brilliantly capturing specks of memories which dance in the light, however briefly. Like W.G. Sebald’s narrator in The Emigrants, who watches dust dance in the projector light, Nors documents how the past haunts the present.”—Elizabeth McNeill, Chicago Review of Books