My new book

Cover art, Susan Benson

The synopsis of The Yellow Room on my Books page emphasizes the Danish context of war and Resistance, and the love story of Jørgen and Anna. Much of the narrative, however, has to do with the hero’s recollections of his time in America.

For anyone familiar with my first novel, Sister Patsy, it may be useful to know that I originally conceived of Yellow Room as part of a trilogy to be called Sunset Park, after the neighbourhood which was, for several generations, the Scandinavian colony in Brooklyn, and where I grew up during the War and just after. The plan for a trilogy fell by the wayside—among other things, the writing of Luggas Wood intervened—but the ‘American’ sections of Yellow Room share with Sister Patsy some of the same characters and social milieu: the world of immigrant chapel-folk and charismatic religion in the 1920s and 30s, the world of my father and mother.

But this is all secondary to other concerns. These novels—and Luggas Wood, which has nothing at all to do with Brooklyn—seem to me ultimately about the possibility of action in the narrow space between the brute facts of human violence and cruelty, and an increasingly impotent and fragmentary religious culture. In such a condition one is obliged to imagine forms of courage and resistance flowing from the solitary human heart.