Dorthe Nors writes short fiction that is precise, brief and shattering ... Lyrical stream-of- consciousness prose is intercut with short, blunt sentences, enacting the push and pull of revelation between her protagonists and their environment. Misha Hoekstra’s translation delicately renders Nors’s intensity, along with her subtlety, by sticking to a straightforward and intentionally repetitive vocabulary. The almost standardized formula of Nors’s short fiction, more rigid here than in previous collections, can be frustrating, as we quickly begin to anticipate capricious plots and untrustworthy narrators. This is not, however, always to the detriment of Wild Swims . The twists here are often not conclusions but opportunities to look at matters slantwise; meanwhile, our expectations of narrative instability encourage close reading, and Nors frequently leaves statements open. In the absence of satisfying conclusions, such lines can be reinterpreted on each new reading, presenting wildly different possibilities.
In this masterful collection of stories, Danish writer Nors presents the lives of melancholy characters all yearning for something more meaningful ... Translated by Hoekstra, Nors weaves these somber tales of longing and disappointments with humor and bits of hope. She dives right into the heart of her stories with emotion and insight, making this a delightful collection that can easily be read in one sitting.
Nors’s stories progress in associations rather than drawing straight lines between narrative points ... Nors weaves such striking imagery throughout her stories, leaving us to intuitively make sense of how everything fits together ... Occasionally [Nors] pulls back a bit, challenging herself to write a more naturalistic story a la Raymond Carver, where events unfold in linear order and the prose calls less attention to itself ... Nors’s deft touch gives rise to her unusual way of structuring her stories; in the hands of a less refined prose writer, it would all seem a mishmash ... [Nors's] work is engaging on multiple levels. One hopes, then, that the author’s influence can spread far and wide. Some younger North American and European writers, such as Nicolette Polek and Katharina Volckmer, have lately joined the small-book tradition, and if the 2020s bring a rise in the popularity of small books, it will be a trend worth celebrating.