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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Following one woman's journey from a troubled girlhood in working-class Copenhagen through her struggle to live on her own terms, The Copenhagen Trilogy is a searingly honest, utterly immersive portrayal of love, friendship, art, ambition and the terrible lure of addiction, from one of Denmark's most celebrated 20th-century writers.

©2021 Tove Ditlevsen (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"Utterly, agonisingly compulsive...a masterpiece." (Liz Jensen, Guardian)

"Sharp, tough and tender...wrenching sadness and pitch-black comedy. Ditlevsen can pivot from hilarity to heartbreak in a trice." (Boyd Tonkin, Spectator)

"Astonishing, honest, entirely revealing and, in the end, devastating. Ditlevsen's trilogy is remarkable not only for its honesty and lyricism; these are books that journey deep into the darkest reaches of human experience and return, fatally wounded, but still eloquent." (Observer)  

What listeners say about Childhood, Youth, Dependency

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Captivating

A sensitive, detailed account of life through unpretentious honesty.
It's about a life, Toves life, her thoughts emotions decisions and consequences love's and losses.
I havent the words to describe the beauty of Toves writing
She makes everyday life, the natural and mundane come to life with sensitive emotional observations.
All I can say is that as I listened I walked with her in my heart
I found it a very moving book, every part relatable in its simplicity
Yet intriguing by its intricate detail
And deeply relatable
I think this is the best book I have ever listened to
My new personal favourite

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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no!

boring narrator spoils content. stopped after first chapter and am
planning to return the book..

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    4 out of 5 stars

Quite fascinating

The narration is slightly strange but after a while, I grew used to it and started to really enjoy the accent, intonation and tone of the narrator. I found that I was gripped by the story as there are a few twists and shocking storylines. Around the middle I felt like the pace accelerated and some timelines were skipped, as if the author was in a rush to move on. I found childhood strangely nostalgic although I’m not Danish and wasn’t born 100 years ago. Overall enjoyed this a lot

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    5 out of 5 stars

Astounding, coruscating autobiography

Couldn’t stop listening! The first volume, Childhood, has the great strength of recreation of a child’s eye view of the world, and the frustrations of having no control over one’s life. Youth, covering the ages 14-20, is more conventional but certainly reminded me of many foolish moments in my own teenage life years later. The third volume, Dependency, recounts a series of disastrous marriages in a horrifyingly flat tone but is nevertheless riveting. I can’t get Tove out of my head now.

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Made me want to know more about author

Delicately written description a life. Dependency is the most interesting. The narrator is fine, only I found her intonation a distraction, I guess it is English with a Danish rhythm.

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  • Joselo
  • 20-05-21

Eerily beautiful

Tove Ditlevsen (1917-1976) was a celebrated Danish author, whose autobiographical works, 'Childhood', 'Youth' and 'Dependency' (sometimes translated as 'Gift') are known together as 'The Copenhagen Trilogy'. It is beautifully read here by Stine Wintlev, whose gentle voice goes well with the elegant prose.

From a very young age, Ditlevsen is in search of the kind of structure that will allow her to write, which is what she loves to do. In the beginning, no one takes her interest very seriously, but eventually her talent is recognized and rewarded. To the best of her abilities, she tries to put together all that’s needed to fulfill her personal and professional aspirations, defying social conventions when she must, but ‘something’ seems to be always missing. This absent piece of the puzzle, this vacuum, goes unnamed throughout her memoirs. She never points at it explicitly, yet it’s palpable. There is a constant sense of instability and foreboding. Like the main character of a fairy tale, who is destined to lose her innocence, Ditlevsen disregards alarming signs of looming danger and is cast into a world of strange darkness. She shares her experiences in a style that is surprisingly delicate and light, almost magical, and a pleasure to read (or listen to). Her story takes place during a tumultuous time in Denmark, but her memoirs are mostly focused on the personal.

Like I said, I enjoyed Wintlev's narration a lot, but found it a little slow at first, so I played it at x1.1. This is probably a matter of taste. I played later chapters at the regular speed. She's a native Danish speaker, so she has no problem reading the few bits that are in that language.