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Publisher's Summary

Called "a masterpiece" by The Guardian, this courageous and honest trilogy from Tove Ditlevsen, a pioneer in the field of genre-bending confessional writing, explores themes of family, sex, motherhood, abortion, addiction, and being an artist. This program contains all three volumes of her memoirs.

Tove Ditlevsen is today celebrated as one of the most important and unique voices in 20th-century Danish literature, and The Copenhagen Trilogy (1969-71) is her acknowledged masterpiece. Childhood tells the story of a misfit child’s single-minded determination to become a poet; Youth describes her early experiences of sex, work, and independence. Dependency picks up the story as the narrator embarks on the first of her four marriages and goes on to describe her horrible descent into drug addiction, enabled by her sinister, gaslighting doctor husband.

Throughout, the narrator grapples with the tension between her vocation as a writer and her competing roles as daughter, wife, mother, and drug addict, and she writes about female experience and identity in a way that feels very fresh and pertinent to today’s discussions around feminism. Ditlevsen’s trilogy is remarkable for its intensity and its immersive depiction of a world of complex female friendships, family, and growing up - in this sense, it’s Copenhagen's answer to Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Novels. She can also be seen as a spiritual forerunner of confessional writers like Karl Ove Knausgaard, Annie Ernaux, Rachel Cusk, and Deborah Levy. Her trilogy is drawn from her own experiences but unfolds like the most compelling kind of fiction.

Born in a working-class neighborhood in Copenhagen in 1917, Ditlevsen became famous for her poetry while still a teenager and went on to write novels, stories, and memoirs before committing suicide in 1976. Having been dismissed by the critical establishment in her lifetime as a working-class female writer, she is now being rediscovered and championed as one of Denmark's most important modern authors, with "Tove fever" gripping audiences.

A Macmillan Audio production from Farrar, Straus and Giroux

©2021 Tove Ditlevsen (P)2021 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about The Copenhagen Trilogy

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  • Overall
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    4 out of 5 stars

Tough memoir, well told.

She writes about her life in simple, almost dry phrases. But the Overall effect is fascinating. It is also interesting to hear the reader, Stine Wintlev, pronounce the Danish names and places. Well worth a listen!

3 people found this helpful

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Masterpiece

Ditlevsen is an alchemist: using the simplest language, she weaves something as complex, profound, and deeply felt as anything I've ever read. The clarity of her perceptions, the mercilessness of her honesty, and the fleetness of her storytelling are all transmitted using language that's deceptively simple. The writing never calls attention to itself, the transparency of the style results in a crazy intimacy with this warts-and-all narrator. You will love her, be disgusted by her, root for her, worry about her, wish you'd known her, and feel sorry for those who did.

The performance of the audiobook is also a complete knockout. Stine Wintlev's delivery is perfectly matched to the style- elegant, clear, somewhat detached, and beautiful.

2 people found this helpful

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Danish Ferante?

I was as absorbed in this trilogy and the life of poet: author Ditlevsen as I was with Elena Ferante’s My Brilliant Friend. Except this is all true it seems so my responses of kinship, anger, disgust and concern for the writer as she lurches toward fame and fulfillment is also more real. Loved the reader, too!

1 person found this helpful

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I can't finish it!

Maybe I missed the point, I hate the protagonist and the plot equally the only thing worse is the writing itself. it is stilted and repetitive.

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Tortured life of an artist

A good reminder of how drug addiction can happen to anyone and how easy it can be to enable an addict.

1 person found this helpful

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Exceptional

As a memoir this book revealed deeply personal reflections on a life lived during and after WWII. Many listeners may relate to the childhood memories and confusion. Every family has its unique disfunctions. We grow up in spite of hardship and do the best we can. A realistic and personal journey through addiction.