Judging a book by its cover


Well, it seems I was right to be intrigued. Cochon d’Allemand, listed for the Prix Médicis Etranger, is the French translation of this book:

In its first two weeks in print, He Who Blinks is Afraid of Death (Aschehoug) sold 4,000 copies in Denmark, a huge number for a debut novel. An autobiographical narrative set in the 1960s, the novel tracks the odd life of a young boy whose German mother is schizophrenic. His Danish father, an insurance agent, expresses his own formidable neuroses by insuring anything and everything that could possibly be insured. His parents’ bizarre behavior isolates the child from the already stifling social life of their provincial town, but through pure zest and ingenuity, the boy creates a world of fantasies, finding his way out of his claustrophobic misery.

This is the Danish cover:

[via Publishing Trends]

Knud Romer Jørgensen is perhaps better known outside Denmark as a cast-member in Lars von Trier’s film The Idiots, in which he played the character Axel, on whose credit card many of the “idiotic” activities depend. In Denmark he has something of a reputation as a witty cultural commentator, with squibs having appeared on subjects as diverse as Copenhagen’s public toilets, auto-erotic suicide, and peppermints. Here’s a short extract from “He Who Blinks..”:

Nykøbing Falster is a town so small it begins by stopping. If you are inside, you can’t get out – and if you are outside, you can’t get in. You go straight through, and the only trace the town leaves sticks to your clothes and smells of manure in the summer and sugar beet in the winter. I was born there in 1960, and it was the closest I could get to not existing.

[via the Danish Literary Magazine]

The English rights are, I think, still available.


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