Reading Europe - Scandinavia

Episodes

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Denmark: The Bra20170115

A tale of designer domesticity in a stylish Copenhagen apartment - where being a low-paid cleaner can sometimes mean being presented with a dilemma.

From the recently published anthology Copenhagen Tales, the mood of the Danish capital is explored in this story of cleaning and clothing, and how the other half lives.

Written by Jakob Ejersbo, a Danish journalist and writer who authored the immensely popular novel Nordkraft. It was a huge hit in Denmark, selling over 100,000 copies and making Ejersbo an established writer who continued to write several more novels until his early death in 2008.

This story is part of Radio 4's Reading Europe project and continues an exploration of contemporary writing from Scandinavia.

Written by Jakob Ejersbo

Translated by Lotte Shankland

Read by Lizzy Watts

Produced by Lizzie Davies

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

Denmark: The Buddhist20170101

By Dorthe Nors. A spiritual awakening helps a man who fears he has lost control over events in his life. Things can only go well when The Universe is on your side.

Dorthe Nors' insight into the strange nuances of human interactions, especially those rooted in violence or sorrow, is keenly observed in her short story collection, Karate Chop. She is able both to build and to unmake a character, achieving the same complexity that other writers require entire novels to establish. What's more, her protagonists are familiar and unsettling, with characteristics that echo in our psyches and ask us to call into question all we assume about ourselves and others.

Karate Chop is the first of Nors' books to be translated to English.

Written by Dorthe Nors

Translated from Danish by Martin Aitken

Read by Aoife McMahon

Abridged by Jill Waters

Produced by Lizzie Davies

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

Sweden: Nuestra Senora De La Asuncion20170108

A chance meeting at a party, a call in the early morning, and a day trip to the dry Spanish Interior - one sightseer is profoundly moved by her experience on the day.

Originally commissioned for a short story festival in Croatia, Swedish writer Lina Wolff's tale takes us from Madrid to Granada and back again, highlighting the different cultural views of northern and southern Europe and their attitudes to superstition, and leaving our narrator shaken and profoundly moved by her experience.

Lina Wolff has lived and worked in Italy and Spain. During her years in Valencia and Madrid she began to write her short story collection Many People Die Like You (2009). Bret Easton Ellis and the Other Dogs, her first novel, was awarded the prestigious Vi Magazine Literature Prize and shortlisted for the 2013 Swedish Radio Award for Best Novel of the Year. She now lives in southern Sweden.

The translator, Saskia Vogel, is from Los Angeles and lives in Berlin where she works as a writer and Swedish-to-English literary translator. She has written on the themes of gender, power, and sexuality for publications such as Granta, The White Review, The Offing and The Quietus. Her translations include work by leading female authors such as Katrine Marcal, Karolina Ramqvist and the modernist eroticist Rut Hillarp.

This story is part of Radio 4's Reading Europe project and continues an exploration of contemporary writing from Scandinavia.

Written by Lina Wolff

Translated by Saskia Vogel

Read by Olivia Darnley

Produced by Lizzie Davies

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.