The Blixen Literary Award 2017:
Iben Mondrup with Karensminde
From the jury’s motivation:
Iben Mondrup has written a family drama, where the adult children’s understanding of their parents and siblings plays out at its centre. The point of view changes imperceptibly and elegantly between the three siblings Hilde, Knut and Bjørk as well as the parents Karen and Jens. The scenic nature on Møn and the family’s internal relationships are woven together with both distant and more recent flashbacks in a language that flows freely, appeals to the senses and is of high stylistic value.
The composition is not simple, but the reading experience is nonetheless completely clean and uninterrupted; there is a firm grip on the narrative’s progression. Iben Mondrup can write dialogue and what is more, she has a unique ability to portray children so that they shine brightly on the page and come to life right in front of you.
Even though you get to know the five characters, you are surprised again and again because they are constantly revealing new sides of themselves. The family’s betrayals, their secrets and silences are slowly peeled away, layer by layer, without this ever coming across as calculated.
Iben Mondrup depicts her protagonists precisely, wisely and empathetically in a way that leaves them mercilessly exposed to the reader. One is left touched and moved by this tale of disaster, which begins with the father Jens’ fall from a ladder.
The book is named after the house that the parents are trying to renovate; a house that is meant to help reunite the family. But much like the house falling apart at the seams, the relationships between the children and the adults are constantly under threat of dissolution. Karensminde shows family for what it truly is: the worst and the best place in the world.
-The jury: Jesper Stein, Anne-Marie Mai, Inge Lise Hornemann