by Karen Fastrup
A few days ago, Karen was a writer and translator immersed in Copenhagen’s creative scene, madly in love with her partner. Now she’s a patient in a psychiatric facility.
Hunger Heart is a sensual, profound work of autofiction about love, relationships, mental illness, and recovery by one of Denmark’s most celebrated literary writers. Fastrup immerses us in the alienations of her breakdown and hospitalization: what it’s like to apologize for threatening your loved one with a knife; how an eating disorder can begin with the discomfort of family and adolescence; and how to make the long journey back to one’s creative life.
But this is not primarily a book of heartache and damage. We are reminded of the electricity of love and the power of language to support our identities and our lives. Deeply courageous, captivating and affecting, Hunger Heart is as much a balm as it is a firework.
Translated by Marina Allemano.