The Jade Cat
Publication date: September 2012
Digital Book format: ePub (Adobe DRM)
Beginning with the great-grandfather Isidor L-vin and his emigration from Poland in the 19th century, his establishment of The Royal Danish Distillery - creators of the famous Danish snaps - and the family's successful assimilation in Denmark, the story follows the children and grandchildren, as they look for successes in Denmark and abroad, in business and within the arts. Suzanne Br-gger's family saga takes us from Denmark to Riga and back, through two World Wars, to India and Afghanistan, to America as it was and as it is, and it takes us through boarding schools, mental hospitals, and almshouses for the poor. At the heart of the narrative is the grandmother, Katze, and her memories. She tells the story from her patrician apartment in Copenhagen's Gammel M-nt 14, where she has lived since the 1940s, and her story is a haunting portrait of the pride, conceitedness, grandness, and despair, that has followed the L-vin family while the world outside the old apartment gradually fell apart. The family remains prey to drug addiction and suicide attempts. Some escape into sex, others into evangelical politics or religion. Regn becomes a UN diplomat in the Third World, his wife tries to kill their son, while their daughter serves her sexual apprenticeship in a Thai monastery-brothel and after a brief period of social acceptability, ends her days a bag lady in Copenhagen. As diverse and uncompromising as William Styron's Sophie's Choice and Isabel Allende's House of the Spirits. To have conjured up a cast of grotesques and rendered them sympathetic is a challenge that Suzanne Br-gger has triumphantly brought off. .