The Tsar's Dwarf
We find her at the beginning of the story in a ghetto: poor, louse ridden, and full of hate. And why shouldn't she be. She is ugly and reviled, handed around like doll, and offered no dignity. Soon however, she comes to the attention of King of Denmark, and Sorine finds herself drawn into his court. But her l ...more
This book is all that is properly grotesque - deftly mixed repulsion and fascination. This is Sorine's story, the story of a Danish dwarf "gifted" to Peter the Great. She's angry yet tender, confused yet wise. This book is rich but handled with a delicate touch, so it's not too cloying. This is not a proper bildungsroman. Her life is ugly with moments of brightness and if you're the sort who needs a clear path and a clear plot, then it's probably best ...more
This is the review I've posted on my blog, which I reproduced below.
Sørine Bentsdatter stopped growing at the age of six. She's a dwarf, a small and deformed inhuman creature that has decided to hate everyone and everything, including herself.
In this historical novel we follow Sørine from Denmark, to Russia, Poland and back to Denmark, witnessing her misfortunes while transiting between filthy holes, sovereigns' courts, hideous exhibitions, and fine folk's households.
It's impossible to escape t ...more
Once I got past that point, though, the book started to pull me in. You begin to see a deeper level of Sørine, and you also see her become more open to changes in perspective. Rather than just hearing about all the parts of life that she hates, and about all th ...more
well, i should have trusted my initial instincts. while not a fatally flawed book, i found very little to redeem it. for starters, the prose is excessively dull ...more
However, that aside, I think the book suffered a bit from being too anemic. I think that it would have been helpful for the main character, Sorine, to either: a) stay consistent in her sentiments--she loved the Tsar and want ...more
Sorine becomes Surinka and goes to Russia to become part of the tsars collection of dwarves. The tsar has even built a dwarf-sized house for his little pets. Sorine a.k.a. Sur ...more
"My name is Sorine Bentsdatter, I was born in 1684 in the village of Bronshoj. My father was a pastor, my mother died in childbirth. When I turned six my body decided not to grow anymore."
Sorine’s story is a jour ...more
Sorine is a fascinating self-loathing character, but I couldn't make myself feel anything for her. I'd like to say more about this, but I can't really describe why her honesty and black-humour doesn't quite seem to be enough to make me truly invested in where she
Honestly, it has two whole stars because I tend to reserve the ole one-star of for books that disgust me to the e ...more
I agree with Mr. Fogtdal's statement that he misses Sorine. He created such a bawdy, honest, out there character that I too, will miss her and all her adventures.
Here's hoping more will follow. Bravo!!
Books in Danish, French, Portuguese, and English:
Det egyptiske hjerte, 2015 (Denmark)
The Tsar's Dwarf, 2008 (USA, Canada)
Skorpionens hale, 2008 (Danish),
La Naine du Tsar, 2008 (Frenc ...more
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At that moment I'll be at your side, but no before.
Not a moment before.”