Day 15: Crimson

Across the first month of 2020, Sophie Baggott is sharing her thirty favourite books by women from across the world. Find out more about her project to read women writers from every country worldwide here.

For me, Crimson by Niviaq Korneliussen (tr. Anna Halager) was a challenging but interesting read. The author first wrote the book in Greenlandic (published as HOMO Sapienne) aged 24, before translating it herself into Danish. I particularly liked the glossary at the back to explain various Greenlandic words left within the English translation, e.g. ‘inuugit’ meaning ‘live your life’.

A courageous debut from Greenland
A courageous debut from Greenland

In a nutshell: This is a punchy, fast-paced, almost-stream-of-consciousness novella charting the major realisations and life decisions of five queer characters in Greenland’s capital, Nuuk.

To pluck out a line: “The island is swollen. The island is rotten. The island has taken my beloved from me.”

If I had to choose one image: The ongoing prison metaphor (at least, I think it’s a metaphor…) in Inuk’s chapter threw me somewhat but does vividly evoke the claustrophobia that has engulfed him so far in his life.

Sharing a thought: I read this book within a few hours and found it a stressful read what with the endless binges and hangovers / childhood traumas / emotional crises – but it’s certainly a bold debut from Korneliussen.

Fact: Korneliussen was born in 1990 in Nuuk and grew up in South Greenland, and studied Psychology at Aarhus University in Denmark.

If you’d like to read Crimson, please visit here.

3 thoughts on “Day 15: Crimson

  1. I am Anna Halager, and I am the translator of Crimson, which is the UK edition and also of the US edition, which is entitled LAST NIGHT IN NUUK. I am part-Danish and part-Welsh and a member of Society of Authors in London. I live in Copenhagen. Glad you liked the book.

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    1. Hi Anna, thank you for being in touch – and for translating this unique work! How fantastic to hear that you’re part-Welsh – dw i’n dod o Gymru hefyd 🙂

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      1. I don’t speak Welsh. I was brought up in Denmark but spent many childhood vacations with my Welsh relatives in South Wales. I spent one year at Bangor, studying Linguistics. My grandfather was Welsh-speaking. I remember how an elderly woman came to the house and she would count to my grandfather in Welsh. My mother was Welsh-speaking and so are my Welsh cousins.

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