Our plans: 1. When I've finished my education and have the money, we'll buy a house with lots of rooms and a balcony,
–Niviaq Korneliussen (trans. Anna Helger) - Crimson - c.2014, 2018
translated by Anna Helger
I have no idea how I came across this book. Did someone recommend it to me? All I know is that it showed up as a library request for me one day. Maybe it was an accidental request, because I have no memory of it before it appeared on my desk.
It isn’t my usual sort of book. It is a contemporary fiction about five people in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, covering a few days in their lives from different points of view, and told through narration blended with texts and emails. Maybe I requested it because I don’t think I’ve ever read any book by someone from Greenland before and so it counts as furthering my world literature adventure?
If so it worked, because I knew absolutely nothing about modern Greenland before reading this book. Apart from the fact that its cold there. I wasn’t even sure exactly where it was, but it turns out that my sense that it was somewhere between Europe and North America was correct1 .
I wasn’t too sure about it at first, seemed a bit full of self-obsessed people just looking to drink and party. But I continued to read it and the more I read the more I enjoyed it.
Korneliussen writes in a very stream-of-consciousness style, so you aren’t always sure exactly what is going on, but by using the five different perspectives the reader gains a much better understanding by the end. It is an interesting novel, I can’t say that I loved it, but I was interested and entertained while reading it and although obviously it can’t tell me all about what it is to be a Greenlander, or queer, or trans, it does give a glimpse of the life of its characters.
I did read Sarah Moss Cold Earth which is set in Greenland but it isn’t about Greenland or its people, not in the same way ↩