Wednesday, December 8, 2021

The Copenhagen Trilogy by Tove Ditlevsen

The Copenhagen Trilogy: Childhood; Youth; DependencyThe Copenhagen Trilogy: Childhood; Youth; Dependency by Tove Ditlevsen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I lollygagged through the initial book (Childhood), then gave up on this dense memoir. Recently, I tried again by going straight to Youth and goose-stepped to the end through the German occupation of Copenhagen, Tove Ditlevsen's four marriages, three kids, her intense devotion to writing numerous poems and novels, her appallingly realistic descriptions of addiction to Demerol, the cravings and trials of getting clean. Her craving never stops as she describes in Dependency, while she's at the mercy of her mentally ill medical researcher husband for her injections: "Hell on earth. I'm freezing, I'm shaking, I'm sweating, I'm crying and yelling his name into the empty room." I was continually aware of how much better the Danish medical system is than ours (doctors actually came to the house and answered calls at unlikely hours), she spent months in a rehab facility at state expense under a caring doctor). Her specificity is part of her writing skill. A very good book.

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