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Wild Swims

Dorthe Nors; Translated from the Danish by Misha Hoekstra
In fourteen effervescent stories, Dorthe Nors plumbs the depths of the human heart, from desire to melancholy and everything in between. Just as she did in her English-language debut, Karate Chop, Nors slices straight to the core of the conflict in only a few pages. But Wild Swims expands the borders of her gaze, following people as they travel through Copenhagen, London, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and elsewhere.

Here are portraits of men and women full of restless longing, people who are often seeking a home but rarely finding it. A lie told during a fraught ferry ride on the North Sea becomes a wound that festers between school friends. A writer at a remote cabin befriends the mother of an ex-lover. Two friends knock doors to solicit fraudulent donations for the cancer society. A woman taken with the idea of wild swims ventures as far as the local swimming pool.

These stories have already been featured in the pages of the New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, Tin House, and A Public Space. They sound the darker tones of human nature and yet find the brighter chords of hope and humor as well. Cutting and offbeat without ever losing its warmth, Wild Swims is a master class in concision and restraint, and a path to living life without either. With Wild Swims Nors’s star will continue to be ascendant.

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A dazzling return to the short story by a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize

About the Author

Dorthe  Nors
Credit: Astrid Dalum
Dorthe Nors is the author of the story collections ​Wild Swims and Karate Chop; four novels, including Mirror, Shoulder, Signal, a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize; and two novellas, collected in So Much for That Winter. She lives in Denmark.
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Misha Hoekstra is an award-winning translator. He lives in Aarhus, where he writes and performs songs under the name Misha Hoist.

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Upcoming Events

VIRTUAL: Dorthe Nors reading and in conversation with Brigid Hughes on WILD SWIMS, part of the Story/Teller Series, presented by Center for Fiction

Center for Fiction in Brooklyn, NYview map
3:00 PM Pacific / 5:00 PM Central / 6:00 PM Eastern. This event is free and open to the public and will be broadcast on Zoom. Register here. Copies of Wild Swims are available for purchase with ticket at the Center for Fiction's nonprofit indie-run bookstore.

VIRTUAL: Dorthe Nors (WILD SWIMS) to teach a master class, presented by A Public Space

A Public Space in New York, NYview map
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM Pacific / 2:00 - 4:00 PM Central / 3:00 - 5:00 PM Eastern. A Master Class on literary companions and why they're necessary--and what they offer--for the writer. This event will be broadcast on Zoom. Enrollment is $85. Click here to register


  • “Cool, razor-sharp stories by a brilliant Danish writer. . . . Irony and narrative sleights of hand (like the precisely planted out-of-place word, an obsessive thought that gets whittled down to its shameful source, the swerve of an unexpected final line) shape-shift these beautiful distilled stories.”Kirkus Reviews, starred review
  • “Masterful. . . . Nors weaves these somber tales of longing and disappointments with humor and bits of hope.”Booklist
  • “[Dorthe Nors] is a master of tracking the hits and misses of human connection. If she were a surgeon, she would cut with the cleanest of lines.”—Lit Hub
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