“It Was Like Jumping From a Cliff.” Dorthe Nors on Taking Quantum Leaps and Buying a House ‹ Literary Hub

Dorthe Nors is the guest. Her essay collection, A Line in the World: A Year on the North Sea Coastis out now from Graywolf Press.

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From the episode:

To Brad List: Not only did you go away for college, but you are also very well traveled. You’ve lived abroad and been all over the place on book tours and everything else. You lived for a time in Copenhagen, and in our first conversation on this show, I seem to recall that we talked about that experience—how you sort of burned out and you wanted to go back to this landscape that you feel rooted to. And then you did move back. Can you talk about what the experience was like to go back after being away? Like, what was it like to acclimate and to relearn it?

Dorthe Nors: It’s quite a crazy experience, to be frank. I moved back and it was like jumping from a cliff. I had actually bought a house, not rented one, because I wanted to challenge myself so I couldn’t run away. So I bought this house. And I remember the first night, sitting in the living room just going, Oh my God, what have I done? And just crying. Oh my God, my nest egg, all my savings. And thinking, You crazy woman, what are you going to do? But then the landscape in itself made it comfortable for me from the get go.

And I traveled a lot as well. Culturally, it was more difficult because I had become loud. Living in cities meant that I had become very loud. I spoke out loud. I mean, you could hear me. Wherever I was in the grocery store, you could go, Oh, there’s the newcomer. Because, you know, my voice was just all over the place. And also I would say things that small communities wouldn’t say out loud.


Dorthe Nors is the author of the acclaimed essay collection A Line in the World: A Year on the North Sea Coast from Graywolf Press, translated by Caroline Waight. Nors is the author of the story collections Wild Swims and Karate Chop; four novels, incl Mirror, Shoulder, Signal, a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize; and two novels, collected in So Much for That Winter.

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