Memoirs of Art and Addiction

Alex Preston at The Guardian:

“Am I a real addict now? I ask. Yes, he says, with his shy, tentative smile, now you are a real addict.” The Copenhagen trilogy, Tove Ditlevsen’s majestic memoir of art and addiction, was originally published in Danish in the late 1960s and early 70s, and now appears in English for the first time, translated by Tiina Nunnally and Michael Favela Goldman. The three novella-length books are called ChildhoodYouth and Dependency and trace the arc of Ditlevsen’s story from birth to literary stardom to the seamy, grasping years of addiction that ended with her suicide in 1976. The trilogy is stridently honest, entirely revealing – she makes no effort to hide the many shameful episodes of a shambolic, drug-addled existence – and, in the end, devastating.

Ditlevsen was born in Vesterbro, Copenhagen, in 1917, the daughter of a fretful, socially ambitious mother and a socialist father who was fired from one job after another for his politics. Their down-at-heel neighbourhood is full of drunks, and the future for Ditlevsen is – at best – one of marriage to a “stable skilled worker”.

more here.