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 correct ((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)) .
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.