Our Translated Book of the Month: Transfer Window by Maria Gerhardt (Nordisk Books), translated by Lindy Falk van Rooyen
“I know I look young in my sports attire and tattoos. I could have been in my prime. I could have been happy-go-lucky, before I came through that door.” – from Transfer Window by Maria Gerhardt, translation by Lindy Falk van Rooyen.
Young, Whitstable-based, independent publisher of modern and contemporary Scandinavian fiction Nordisk Books is publishing a new book this month. After Henrik Nor-Hansen’s shocking Termin, here comes another unique and thought-provoking book: Transfer Window by Danish author Maria Gerhardt, translated by Lindy Falk van Rooyen.
A bestseller in Gerhardt’s home country, Transfer Window reimagines the wealthy suburbs north of Copenhagen as a walled, luxurious hospice for the terminally ill. In such a place, everyone wears white, new-age nuns grow organic cannabis on the beach, music is not allowed, nor is the internet, but you can swim in the icy sea in the winter.
“But this was different. And you could see it in my eyes. My body knew pain, which the body can’t bear.” – From Transfer Window.
But imagination mixes with reality, revealing the harshness of life – and the unavoidability and the incomprehensibility of death.
In Transfer Window, the author provides us with a series of fragments of different lengths. Some are visions, thoughts, dreams – and these mix with the author’s overwhelming memories of being a terminal patient. Maria Gerhardt, who sadly died in 2017, shortly after her book was published in Denmark, takes us through the devastating experience of a life with cancer, of a short life, of not being able to plan her future with her family, to grow old with her partner. Yet, as the translator points out in her interview (read here), although “this book is a very personal one”, the author would have wanted it to be read “as a fictional work of art, rather than a memoir or a deathbed diary”. It is definitely a lot more than that.
It is a short book, but the deepest and toughest you’ll read this year. Do not miss this must-read, get your copy on 27th June.
“My sweetheart, you are not to see my lying here sobbing… My sweetheart, I wanted to be your best, but we had just a short season, and no matter how many walls we built, how many mattresses we piled up, the pea always made its way, mutated, sailed along the drains and sprouted in clumps of disused potential. Life is not fair; death comes into its own.” – My favourite lines from Maria Gerhardt’s Transfer Window.