Minna Needs Rehearsal Space

Minna is a composer and not a day over forty. She is writing a sonata, but she is having trouble getting the tone right because she doesn’t have a rehearsal space. Actually, there are a lot of things that Minna doesn’t have. Children, for one. Or a life purpose. Or a voice that is properly heard. Minna is in love with the digitally-savvy Lars, but Lars has other plans. There are a number of women haunting Minna. There is Jette, the erotic harpist. Self-indulgent Karin uses Minna as an ear into which she catalogues her many pleasures. Her sister Elisabet is self-righteous and needy. And, in an absurd twist, Minna’s mom is blogging about geraniums. Minna has become a receptacle for everyone else’s needs and demands, and there is very little room left for her. Until now. Because she has made a decision: she is going to learn to sort. Minna is going to develop an asshole-filter.

Minna leaves her life and responsibilities behind to take a mini-vacation on her own by the seaside, but her sister won’t stop calling and that annoying woman from composition class shows up on the ferry. Minna is unable to escape the tentacles of her life until she dives deep into the ocean and comes up to find a pleasant surprise.

Minna Needs Rehearsal Space is a subtle and playful account of a woman who needs to break free from the lives of others in order to make room for her own. Written in one-line paragraphs, this short novel is characterized by Nors’s distinctive edgy humor and linguistic precision. Minna Needs Rehearsal Space is a delightful burst of energy that makes you laugh at first, and then turn the existential spotlight on your own life.

“How often can we honestly say that a book is unlike anything else? Yet here it is, unique in form and effect.”
THE GUARDIAN (UK)

“Minna Needs Rehearsal Space is the funniest Danish novel I have read in a long time.”
INFORMATION (DK)

“Satirically sharp and satirically funny.”
WEEKENDAVISEN (DK)

“These two novellas present an edgy evocation of contemporary life. Nors is a creator of small spaces; her fiction is relentless, edgy, brief. […] The idea is to deconstruct, or rewire, narrative by stripping away excess detail in favor of something closer to pure consciousness. Yet lest this sounds off-putting or difficult, it couldn’t be more accessible.”
KIRKUS REVIEWS (US)

“Nors adresses crucial questions of contemporary existence with great humor and humanity. […] Nors’ gaze is intimate and unflinching as she examines the isolation that arises from a plugged-in world.”
SYCAMORE REVIEW (US)

“This is music to a language-lovers’ ears.”
DAGBLADENES BUREAU, 5 STARS (DK)

“Tremendously insightful.”
JYLLANDSPOSTEN (DK)

“A poetic pearl.”
BERLINGSKE TIDENDE, 4 STARS (DK)

“Minna needs rehearsal space is one of the best books I have read.”
LITTERATURNU (DK)

“Short, precise, and hugely entertaining.”
LITTERATURSIDEN (DK)

“Minna Needs Rehearsal Space consists of vigorous, single-line sentences – ‘Minna is a composer’, ‘Minna is a tad avant-garde’, ’Minna is mud’ – that resemble Facebook updates, but when nakedly piled up become a story about a life crisis and a wounded heart, quite contemporary satirically devastating but with humor, poetry and, a happy ending. It calls to mind Kristina Lugn and Suzanne Brögger’s prosaic poem Tone, even if Nors has her very own punch-to-the-face-painful style.”
AFTONBLADET (SE)

“There is inventiveness and motion, angst and loss, puzzles and minor epiphanies. […] Nors packs much into her telegraphic works. […] [The novellas] contain despair, grief, family conflicts, aesthetic pursuits, and the mundane; the two narrators are present, flesh, bone, heart, and spirit.”
NUMERO CINQ (US)

“I like it so unbelievably much, because it’s so liberatingly playful and different, while at the same time it is impossible to miss the gravity in Nors’ methodical work.”
JÖNKÖPINGSPOSTEN (SE)

“The text is chiseled out in short sentences, harsh statements that drive both reality and story to its extremity. It is absurdism in its best sense, not in the least in that she has, both through form and content, been able to bring into immediate focus the complexity of reality.”
NORRKÖPINGS TIDNINGAR (SE)

“An original, sharp, and tender analysis of the lonely person’s situation.”
ARBETARBLADET (SE)

“What an eye she has, Dorthe Nors. Fierce yet affectionate. Absent-minded yet at the same time penetrating. She conveys the impression of being preoccupied, wandering about to and fro and striking down on things that seem totally non essential. Then a particular detail is riveted and the story appears in a completely different light. […] To express it in a concise ‘Minna’-way: Dorthe Nors is a lot of fun to read.”
SYDSVENSKAN (SE)

Dorthe Nors is one of the most original voices of contemporary Danish letters. She has written a lauded short story collection, Karate Chop, as well as one novella and five novels, including the most recent: Mirror, Shoulder, Signal (2016), which has been shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2017.

Learn more about Dorthe Nors