what would i say
if i could go back
to the child
whose triumph it was like everybody else
to sell herself
you fuck the devil then i’d say
some money out
The Devil Book is a deeply personal and political book where Danish literary super star Asta Olivia Nordenhof combines prose and poetry, pain and humor as she explores if it’s possible to step out of loneliness and into a new world of community without commodity.
Our narrator, a former sex worker, has agreed to travel to London to stay in the apartment of a man she has just met while she sits out a two-week Covid quarantine. She will use the time to write the story of how she sold herself to T, who offered her money and material goods in exchange for total control of her body, and who left himself inside her in the form of a planted seed. Between them in bed lay a large kitchen knife and the promise of an iconic death. In an uncharacteristic move at self-preservation, she aborted the treacherous game and fled. Now she wonders if it might be possible to find love with her nondescript host in London? But she won’t stay long enough to find out.
Told in four parts, where arresting poetry intertwines with a staged confessional stretching from London to the inside of a mental institution, this stand-alone follow up to the critically lauded Money to Burn is a bold tour de force about violence and money, love and desire, and a cheeky stand-off with the Devil himself.
“The Devil Book by Asta Olivia Nordenhof is, in my eyes, a masterpiece of new Scandinavian literature. To read the book is an experience of – with the devil’s confident hand – being led through parallel worlds that are connected by an urgent question. In four distinct chapters, different in genre and temperament, the book investigates the conditions of love in the capitalistic society. It is a deeply moving and unruly original novel, full of anger and pain. It is also an incredibly funny book, and for me it is primarily full of tenderness and hope. Who can write a poem about Jeff Bezos? Who can write a modern gothic thriller? Who can write a brilliant love manifesto that makes the reader long for and believe in change and community? I do not doubt for a second that The Devil Book, as well as Asta Olivia Nordenhof’s entire body of work, will go down in Nordic literary history.”
Julie Paludan-Müller, Aqcuiring Editor at Gads Forlag