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We, the Drowned by Carsten Jensen

We, the Drowned (original 2006; edition 2011)

by Carsten Jensen, Charlotte Barslund (Translator), Emma Ryder (Translator)

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700None13,549 (4.14)39
Title:We, the Drowned
Authors:Carsten Jensen
Other authors:Charlotte Barslund (Translator), Emma Ryder (Translator)
Info:Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2011), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 688 pages
Collections:contemporary/ literary

Work details

We, the Drowned by Carsten Jensen (2006)

  1. 10
    The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx (Jannes)
    Jannes: Proulx focuses on one particular and personal fate, Jensen writes about a whole town in the voice of a vague, collective "we". The former places her story in modern-day Newfoundland, the later in 19th and early 20th century Denmark. What they have in common is the ever-present sea, its influence and demands, and how the people that relies on if for sustenance has learned to accept its whims and live with the consequences of a life at sea.… (more)
  2. 00
    In the Wake by Per Petterson (Limelite)
    Limelite: Norwegian writer; tragedy at sea but psychodrama, not saga. While an internal novel without the brutality of war, the atmosphere of Scandinavian love-hate relationship with cold seas is here.

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» See also 39 mentions

English (19)  Danish (2)  Spanish (2)  German (2)  Norwegian (1)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  All languages (28)
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
The epitome of tl;dr--but unfortunately for me, I did read this dull, ponderous epic about the sea. I will do my best not to hold a grudge against Denmark. ( )
  thatotter | Feb 6, 2014 |
Amazing novel- I was hooked from the first line, and I loved every second of it. I'd love to be able to read it in the original Danish. I'll be looking out for more of Carsten Jensen's work. ( )
  psychedelicmicrobus | Feb 5, 2014 |
I found this a wonderful read. It's one that just kept me eagerly turning all those pages. It's a fine sea-going tale of generations of men in a small town that live and die on or under the sea. I've never lived on the ocean (just a lake in Vermont) but I now share the salty aired history of these characters. I've been thinking about this book ever since I finished it. The memories are good ones. Thoughts wash around in the corners of my mind and find themselves holding their own with some waves of thoughts from some of Melville. ( )
  jphamilton | Jul 1, 2013 |
Vast in scope and deep in emotion. Interesting characters who go through real life (not to be confused with realistic) changes. Great depiction of life at sea. ( )
  malrubius | Apr 2, 2013 |
My library finally got this book in. This is how it begins:

"Many years ago there lived a man called Laurids Madsen, who went up to Heaven and came down again, thanks to his boots.
He didn't soar as high as the tip of the mast on a full-rigged ship; in fact, he got no farther than the main. Once up there, he stood outside the pearly gates and saw Saint Peter - though the guardian of the gateway to the Hereafter merely flashed his bare ass at him.
Laurids Madsen should have been dead. But death didn't want him, and he came back down a changed man."

Yeah, this just shot way the hell up my TBR. I can't wait to read it.
  cait815 | Apr 1, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
When was the last time you relished sitting down with a 678-page Danish novel? "We, the Drowned" might just be too much book to tote to the beach next summer, but it's powerful reading for a long winter's night. For many nights, in fact.
Seagoing legends of Scandinavia ...The translation is, in the main, finely wrought, preserving both the elegiac lyricism and straightforward, sometimes violent energies of the book. I do wish, however, that American translators (or their publishers) were not so anxious about idioms. To have a young Danish sailor, in 1845, refer to “freezing my butt off” bounces this reader out of a believable book....That said, Jensen’s talent as a storyteller shines through. We, the Drowned is a huge achievement. A first novel, it’s such a large book that I hope the author has more to say. Whatever may follow, I am grateful, engaged and moved by what he has said here.

We, the Drowned makes us appreciate – in vivid detail – how our present lives in commercially successful societies at peace with each other rest even now on horrific exploitation of the inarticulate, often compelled to commit acts whose savage violence we would rather forget.

In this lies the book's principal strength....Every day gives us cause for fear and sorrow but, as on the celebratory one with which the novel concludes, we can defy them by "dancing with the drowned" because "they were us".


» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Carsten Jensenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barslund, CharlotteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ryder, EmmaPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Many years ago there lived a man called Laurids Madsen, who went up to Heaven and came down again, thanks to his boots.
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Follows a century in the port town of Marstal on an island off the coast of Denmark, whose citizens' lives are indelibly shaped by forces ranging from wars and shipwrecks to taboo survival practices and forbidden passions.

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