Iben Mondrup: Karen’s Place

A novel

Original title: Karensminde (Oct. 2016). Publisher: Gyldendal, Denmark

Awarded the Blixen Literary Award 2017

About the book: It’s summer and Bjørk is with her parents, Karen and Jens, who’ve just moved from Greenland to Denmark looking to spend more time with their three children and grandchildren. Out in the countryside on the island of Møn, they’re busy putting the finishing touches to the restoration of the abandoned farm ‘Karensminde’, which they dream of turning into a home-cum-bed & breakfast.

Bjørk and her brother Knut were once very close, but now he’s got his hands full with his wife and their young twin daughters. Their older sister, Hilde, no longer wants to visit the farm. After many years of separation, both hidden and forgotten emotions resurface along with a host of new ones, and soon the reunion becomes a bumpy ride into the depths of the family’s history.

While installing a birdhouse in their new garden, Jens loses his grip and falls off the ladder. The injuries he sustains will not only change his life, but also the lives of all those around him.
Karensminde is a story about family as a living organism. It is about the bonds that tie us together over time and space, and the events – both great and small – that mark us all for life.

Excerpt from Karen’s Place:

Bjørk sits in the doorway. She feels good. She feels warm. In the farmyard, enclosed by its horseshoe of three whitewashed buildings, the air is still, and under the great hands of the chestnut there is shade; the tree, that once sprouted up between the cobbles, and now she can walk across the yard and sit beneath it whenever it gets too hot.

For almost a week she has been here, on the island of Møn, and she could stay forever. She has come to the farmhouse to get away from Jeppe. At long last, she has made him understand they can’t live together, that it’s harming their relationship—she can’t breathe, she has nightmares about being swallowed up. The few things of his in the

Karensminde won THE BLIXEN LITERARY AWARD 2017. Motivation here.

Acclaim for KARENSMINDE here

A sample from KARENSMINDE is available here – translated by Kerri Pierce