So Much for That Winter

So Much for That Winter
Dorthe Nors; Translated from the Danish by Misha Hoekstra

“Dorthe Nors . . . find[s] as much material in the comedy of rejection as in its humiliations and heartbreak. . . . Delightful.”The Wall Street Journal

“Nors’ writing is by turns witty, gut wrenching, stark and lyrical. . . . [So Much for That Winter is] an exciting and artful literary diptych.”Los Angeles Times

About the Book

Formally inventive and emotionally charged novellas by “a major new voice in European literature” (Book Trust)
Dorthe Nors follows up her acclaimed story collection Karate Chop with a pair of novellas that playfully chart the aftermath of two very twenty-first century romances. In “Days,” a woman in her late thirties records her life in a series of lists, giving shape to the tumult of her days—one moment she is eating an apple, the next she is on the floor, howling like a dog. As the details accumulate, we experience with her the full range of emotions: anger, loneliness, regret, pain, and also joy, as the lists become a way to understand, connect to, and rebuild her life. 
            In “Minna Needs Rehearsal Space,” a novella told in headlines, an avant-garde musician is dumped via text message. Fleeing the indignity of the breakup, and friends who flaunt their achievements in life, career, and family, Minna unfriends people on Facebook, listens to Bach and reads Ingmar Bergman then decamps to an island near Sweden “well suited to mental catharsis.” A cheeky nod to the listicles and bulletins we scroll through on a daily basis, So Much for That Winter explores how we shape and understand experience, and the disconnection and dislocation that define our twenty-first-century lives, with Nors’s unique wit and humor.

Additional Reviews

“Dorthe Nors' formal innovation is playful but organic and necessary, entwined with character and subject. . . . Genuine newness is always an achievement.”—Chris Bachelder, Esquire Best Books of 2016

So Much for That Winter . . . set off fireworks in my brain. . . . I loved the way that the mostly one-line paragraphs marched down the page.”—Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies

So Much for That Winter is not only about our hyperconnected yet atomized times but ingeniously of them as well. . . . Her cyber-inspired forms look and feel on the page like narrative poetry.”Slate

“Dorthe Nors’ fiction mixes a dark-humored wisdom with gleams of pain.”—Flavorwire

“[So Much for That Winter is] one of the speediest and most intriguing of this year’s summer books. . . . The rhythm of Nors’ work, shaped from headlines, fragments and status updates, is eerily familiar. Her innovative novellas hold a mirror to our disjointed times.”BBC

“[Nors’] stylistic choice both highlights the simplicity of the form and exemplifies how these little phrases can pack a big punch, creating the same effect as lines of poetry.”—

“Simply gorgeous.”—Max Porter, author of Grief Is the Thing With Feathers

“A pair of novellas that are fantastically new in form yet have heart, slyness and soul. . . . Together, these delicate, delightful, moving novellas are rooted in soul-depths rarely plumbed with such glancing light.”—Jane Alison, author of Nine Island

“Few forms can be as satisfying to my mind as the novella, and here Denmark’s Nors combines two of them, each doing something different, but of a near mind, somehow combining a timid tone with ongoing, vibrant observation. Each unfurl themselves as items in a slowly stacking list, including the calmest of lines. . . . There’s a ton of kinetic motion here for something so simple, such that it gets wedged in your head and stays there, forming a new sliver of you.”Vice

“[Dorthe Nors] experiments with form as a means to explore the rich inner lives of her characters. There’s great humor and unflinching pathos in her examination of modern life in all of its absurdity and loneliness.”BOMB Magazine

"Nors' use of unconventional storytelling forms beautifully illustrates how modern life has both veered from tradition and become constrained by its conventions. . . . With her keen eye fixed on the power of small, everyday moments, 'So Much for that Winter" is a wonderful reminder, both in form and function, of the unexpected joys present in each day."Cedar Rapids Gazette

“Though they make up the traffic of our online lives, lists and headlines have never felt so alive, so uncomfortable, so raw as they do when Nors writes them.”Seattle Weekly

“The result of these startling, experimental novellas is both somber and playful, the themes of romantic disappointment and creative blocks heightened by the minimalist style. . . . A compelling investigation of form and emotion.”—Shelf Awareness

“Refreshingly inventive. . . . Nors, brilliant and with a growing stateside readership, leaves readers wanting more.”Booklist

“Nors is a wholly unique voice in contemporary literature: a maximalist working within minimalist forms, hammering her prose into those shapes that will better amplify its power.”The Rumpus

“In [So Much for That Winter] there is inventiveness and motion, angst and loss, puzzles and minor epiphanies. . . . Nors packs much into her telegraphic works. . . . [The novellas] contain despair, grief, family conflicts, aesthetic pursuits, and the mundane; the two narrators are present, flesh, bone, heart, and spirit.”Numero Cinq

"Nors addresses crucial questions of contemporary existence with great humor and humanity. . . . Nors' gaze is intimate and unflinching as she examines the isolation that arises from a plugged-in world."—Sycamore Review

“My favorite discovery was Minna Needs Rehearsal Space by the ferociously-talented Danish writer Dorthe Nors (Pushkin Press, £8.99). It’s a very short novella that takes the form of a series of ‘headlines’, each stacked on top of one another. A device that’s maddening for the first few lines, it settles down and becomes a powerful driver through a beautiful, moving, totally compelling account of one woman’s yearning. I simply can’t wait for Nors’s next English translation.”—Nick Barley, director Edinburgh International Book Festival, The Herald

"[So Much For That Winter presents] an edgy evocation of contemporary life. Nors is a creator of small spaces; her fiction is relentless, edgy, brief. . . . it couldn't be more accessible."Kirkus Reviews

Minna Needs Rehearsal Space shows Nors’s economy and perceptiveness. . . . The reader is treated to a cathartic and suspenseful climax.”Publishers Weekly

“Dorthe Nors’s unique narrative style underlines both the loneliness of her characters and the jarring discontinuity of life in a postmodern world.”World Literature Today

“One of the truly great writers of Western Europe. . . . Half Woolf, half Welty.”Dripstones

“An exciting look into the mind of someone with their finger on society’s pulse.”—Librarie Drawn & Quarterly

“If forevermore we are obliged to think in headlines and status updates, let us sound like Dorthe Nors.”Bookswept

“Formally inventive and emotionally charged, the two novellas in Dorthe Nors's So Much for That Winter bridge the gap between melancholy and humor. Told in a series of lists and headlines, these stories of the aftermath of two relationships is a witty examination of love and heartbreak in an age of technological detachment and shortened attention spans. This relentlessly paced vision of modern life should not be missed.” —Emily Ballaine, Green Apple Books, San Francisco, CA

“Dorthe Nors’s Karate Chop arrived, well, like a karate chop. With her follow-up, So Much For That Winter, Nors reinvents the novella as a series of headlines, status updates, diary entries and ‘listicles.’ To read So Much for that Winter, is to experience a series of (deceptively) simple, (largely) declarative sentences that gather gravity, momentum and import. As the narrative unfolds, its effect is not unlike that of an avalanche. Before you realize what's happened, you've been overtaken by a supreme force of nature.”—David Gonzales, Skylight Books, Los Angeles, CA

“Dorthe Nors So Much for That Winter is comprised of two spare novellas set in contemporary Denmark. The first, “Minna Needs Rehearsal Space,” is a story of heartbreak and recovery told in short, declarative sentences: “Minna has gotten Lars to elaborate on his text. / Lars wrote, But I’m really not in love with you./ Lars has always understood how to cut to the chase. / Minna can’t wring anything more out of him.” The second novella, “Days,” is a woman’s diary, a series of lists of what the unnamed narrator does and thinks as she moves through her life and her relationships. Their forms may be experimental, but the short, short stories in So Much for That Winter punch well above their weight and deliver as much impact as any 1000-page tome.”—David Enyeart, Common Good Books, St. Paul, MN

“These novellas from Danish author Dorthe Nors are told in an arrestingly original narrative form from the perspective of a woman recovering from a romantic breakup. The writing is often heartbreakingly sad, and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny as the musings in both stories juxtapose inner feelings with the tedium of daily life. The first novella, ‘Minna Needs Rehearsal Space’ is told in the form of a series of declarative sentences—sometimes revelatory of the past, but more often simplistic descriptions of what Minna faces in her daily life as she tries to recover and move on. It's a gem with a perfect, hopeful ending. The second novella, ‘Days’ is narrated by an older woman via a series of daily, detailed, numbered lists through which she tries to make sense of her life. A story of great intensity, subtlety, and poetry, ‘Days’ is perfect for anyone who has suffered a life-altering loss. The narrator in ‘Days’ writes, ‘..and one thing is inescapable: I write, I write.’ For me, I read, I read, thankfully, books such as this one.”—Jeanne Joesten, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI

So Much For That Winter is incredibly inventive. I loved the pairing of these unique novellas, both of which were darkly funny and boldly written.”—Katie Eelman, Paper Cuts J.P., Boston, MA

“Dorthe Nors takes the unfairly marginalized novella form, and gives it two fresh new looks in her latest, So Much for That Winter. What happens in ‘Minna Needs a Rehearsal Space,’ and ‘Days,’ seemed to me less important than how it happens, i.e., line by line. Nors breaks sensations, emotions, and the drama of everyday experience, into small discrete units. In ‘Minna,’ the unit is the clear, direct, often uninflected and always unbroken line; ‘Days,’ by contrast, takes the form of several lists, many of which achieve their power through their enjambments, their breaks. Unlike anything I've read before, So Much for That Winter boldly sidesteps the conventions of narrative fiction and, like its inspired cover, engages the reader with its explosive motion and form, and its poetry.” —John Francisconi, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

“Dorthe Nors's So Much for That Winter is like a circus. Dazzling, at first, unsettling, overall. The two novellas within the collection (‘Minna Needs Rehearsal Space’ and ‘Days’) experiment with the fragment as form. In "Minna," we get short sentences, like text messages—which works because, early on, Minna gets dumped via text message. There's hilarity there, and such pain, but it cools off in time for ‘Days,’ where we get lists, as a woman tries to bring order to her chaotic life. ‘Days’ reads more quietly (reverently, even) than ‘Minna’ does, but damn if it isn't just as beautiful and appalling and moving. Truly, each of these novellas stands on its own. But thank God they are together here. Two strokes of genius, bound together—what could be better?” 
—Will Walton, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

“I desperately wish I wrote this book. In the vein of Lydia Davis or Joy Williams, So Much For That Winter is at the forefront of deceptively straight-forward 21st century literature. At first its novellas sweep you in with the exuberant (yet heart-breaking) rhythm of a dance, but on second glance they are as finely wrought as a fractal set, their characters and language unfolding with infinite intricacy. Woe to the reader who underestimates Dorthe Nors and her prose.”Lydia McOscar, Brookline Booksmith, Boston, MA