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Childhood, Youth, Dependency
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The classic Danish trilogy hailed as a masterpiece on publication in English last year - now in a single volume in Penguin Modern Classics

About the Author

Tove Ditlevsen was born in 1917 in a working-class neighbourhood in Copenhagen. Her first volume of poetry was published when she was in her early twenties, and was followed by many more books, including her three brilliant volumes of memoir, Childhood (1967), Youth (1967) and Dependency (1971). She married four times and struggled with alcohol and drug abuse throughout her adult life until her death by suicide in 1978.

Reviews

To get it out of the way: these are the best books I have read this year ... Childhood has the simple declarative sentences of Natalia Ginzburg and the pervasive horror of a good fairy story -- John Self * New Statesman *
Mordant, vibrantly confessional... A masterpiece * Guardian *
Semi-miraculous, raw and poignant ... Radiates the clear light of truth and stands as the ultimate victory of a life that must have felt, in the living of it, like a defeat -- Alex Preston * Observer *
Intense, elegant ... Ditlevsen's portrait of Vesterbro in the Twenties has something of the same texture of Elena Ferrante's description of the poor Neapolitan neighbourhood in which her heroines grow up -- Lucy Scholes * The Daily Telegraph *
Wrenching sadness and pitch-black comedy ... Sharp, tough and tender -- Boyd Tonkin * Spectator *
A particular kind of masterpiece, one that helps fill a particular kind of void. Ditlevsen's voice, diffident and funny, dead-on about her own mistakes, is a welcome addition to that canon of women who showed us their secret faces so that we might wear our own. * New York Times *
Intense and elegant ... an absolute tour de force -- Lucy Scholes * Paris Review *
A stunning portrait of addiction and ambition . . . unnervingly brilliant. I felt an almost physical pull to reimmerse myself in the freezing cold water of the trilogy, which understands the trauma of childhood and its reverberations like nothing else I have ever read * Vox *
Ditlevsen's taut, simple prose shines a light on what life and love were like for working-class women in 20th century Copenhagen. Elena Ferrante fans, take note * Stylist *
Despite the darkness that haunts these three books, they shine with Ditlevsen's honesty and humanity ... Her work, seemingly so simple, has the miraculous quality of a life perceived in perfect clarity. Despite the author's untimely death, The Copenhagen Trilogy is a powerful - and uplifting - testament of survival -- Erica Wagner
As in much of the best autofiction, the protagonist's weakness is counterpoised by the strength of her voice ... [Ditlevsen speaks] beyond the cruel and disappointing figures she encounters to us, her readers, awaiting her in another time and another place -- Lara Feigel * Guardian *
A punishing, addictive pleasure -- Amber Husain * The White Review *
Desperately affecting * New Statesman *
Astonishing * Telegraph *
Exceptional ... Her writing is impelled not only by her fine intelligence, but also by a rare focus: the compulsion to tell a particular story, and only that story * Times Literary Supplement *

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