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'The island has run out of oxygen. The island is swollen. The island is rotten. The island has taken my beloved from me. The island is a Greenlander. It's the fault of the Greenlander.'

In modern day Nuuk, Greenland, four friends explore their queer identities.

Fia breaks up with her long term boyfriend, and falls for Sara.

Sara is in love with Ivik who is about to break her heart with a deep secret.

Iviq struggles with gender dysphoria, and transgender identity, as the rest of the young adults on Nuuk become addicted to Facebook, listen to American pop music and get blind drunk in bars and at house parties.

Then there's Inuk, with a secret too - something that will take him to limits of madness, and question what it means to be a Greenlander, while Arnaq, the party queen pulls the strings of manipulation, bringing these five lives to a shocking crescendo.

208 pages, Kindle Edition

First published October 30, 2014

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About the author

Niviaq Korneliussen

4 books113 followers
Niviaq Korneliussen was born in 1990 in Nuuk and grew up in Nanortalik, a small town in Southern Greenland. She participated in 2012 in the short story competition Allatta! (let us write!) for young unpublished authors in Greenland, where she was appointed as one of ten winners. Her short story "San Francisco" was published the following year in the short story collection Young in Greenland – Young in the World (trans. title). This led to invitations to several Nordic literary events – among these was an invitation to lead one of the workshops in the newly started festival for Nordic literature, txt.ville 2014, in Copenhagen. All the while she was still active in Greenland where she co-arranged Poetry Slams as well as literary debates in Nuuk.

Niviaq’s independent novel debut came in the autumn of 2014 with HOMO sapienne, which she originally wrote in Greenlandic before rewriting it into Danish. Her novel was highly praised in the media and was since then nominated for the Politiken Literature Award as well as for the Nordic Council Literature Award, 2015.

Niviaq has also been awarded a prize by the Danish Arts Foundation’s literature committee that selected HOMO sapienne as one of five books from the fall, 2014, that has a significant impact on contemporary Danish literature today.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 510 reviews
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
3,922 reviews35.4k followers
November 12, 2018
“What it really means to be a Greenlander:
You’re a Greenlander when you’re an alcoholic. You’re a Greenlander when you beat your partner. You’re a Greenlander when you abuse children. You’re a
Greenlander when you were neglected as a child. You’re in Greenlander when you feel self-pity. You’re in Greenlander when you suffer from self loathing. You’re a Greenlander when you’re full of anger. You’re in Greenlander when you’re a liar. You’re a Greenlander when you’re full of yourself. You’re a Greenlander when you’re stupid. You’re in Greenlander when you’re evil. You’re a Greenlander when you’re queer”.
“Our nation, she who is ancient; go to the mountain and never come back”.

Author Niviaq Korneliussen, is only 28 years old. She’s from Greenland. She’s written a thought-provoking - engaging stylistic stream-of- consciousness contemporary story about young adults - coming-of -age- presumably in their 20’s.
Personally, my ‘early 20’s’ were much more confusing & painful, ‘coming-of-age’ so to speak - growing years - than the early pre-teen years. I also think ‘this-age-group’ is harder to portray authentically.
I marveled at Korneliussen’s clear-eyed and heartbreaking complex depiction of the fierce, flawed, characters.
Niviaq Korneliussen’s new voice shows ambition, and honesty. Each page of this
thin book about self-identity- sexuality- desires - despair - and lust- is blunt,....tackling issues about fear, blame, betrayal, forgiveness, and acceptance.
We are taken into their inner lives. We look at what divides them from one another and how they come to know themselves.

The young folks we follow are Fia, Arnaq, Inuk, Sara, and Ivik,.

The very ‘beginning’ of this book - we ‘immediately’ observe the brilliance- raw-edged relatable prose. We first meet Fia ( although she is narrating - we don’t instantly know her name), but we soon learn she has been living with Peter for three years. This first chapter is so gut-real-truthful- and powerful - I’d find it hard to believe if not every person on the planet ( if they told the truth), hadn’t at some point in their own lives experienced the inner feelings of *Fia*. ( and they are not comfortable feelings).

Fia is tired of her life. She is tired of Peter. They have lived together for three years. He’s a gentleman- kind- never grumbles - ( wishing if he did grumble life might be more exciting). Fia much rather spend time on Facebook than kiss Peter. Fia’s inner monologue made me LAUGH....( of course it’s not funny that she wants to fucking knife him).... but since we sense she’s not really going to....as readers - we are treated to a little comic-wonderful-sarcastic-prose. WE GET IT.....Fia’s life is more dull than a butter life! Who hasn’t ever been there? Who wouldn’t want to pull your hair out? As a young vivacious- rambunctious- hot-sex-starved- 20-something year old, ‘DULL’ is the kiss of death!
Fia leaves Peter.
“Then, just like that, I was free”.
“But the word ‘free’ didn’t bring ‘relief’”. NOT entirely the end of Peter.....

And the story continues.....
Arnag is Fia’s friend. Fia is staying at her place for awhile since having left Peter.
Argnag has plenty of her own troubles - big time party girl - and was once best friends with Fia’s younger brother - Inuk.
Inuk is forced to leave Greenland after a political scandal implicated him.

SARA.....oh SARA.....she is every girl’s heart-throb! Laugh with me - as I’m telling you
only tidbits now....
But Sara ‘does’ become Fia’s girl crush. It’s Fia’s first experience of dying to kiss a girl. No real problem we say - right? Sara is a lesbian- so why not? Well.....Sara is loyal. She has a girlfriend named Ivik.
There may be doubts of Sara & Ivik’s relationship later......
AND NO.....this is NOT a soap opera .... these are normal 20 year old’s who happen to live in Nuuk....the Capital of Greenland.

This book might not be for everyone - but I thought it was TERRIFIC! It’s FRESH...with dialogue that made me laugh - but also feel anger at the same time.
Sometimes men are a dick!
Sometimes - fucking strangers felt like the only solace -
Sometimes fucking a ‘sausage’ is a night of horror that makes you puke.
Sometimes - life is just awkward - embarrassing- and confusing -
Sometimes life is beautiful
Sometimes it’s morning - and reality hits you in the face
Sometimes you’ve been unfaithful in your head.
Sometimes your FAVORITE SONG COMES ON....’Crimson and Clover’ by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.
Sometimes your body is struggling to survive- fighting to breathe - being smothered.
Sometimes you’re scared. Your comfort zone has been fulfilled, but you don’t know what to do.
Sometimes it makes one crazy being from Greenland.
Sometimes.... “life has many challenges, but love’s small miracles will always win”.

An extraordinary debut ....( my first time reading a book by an author from GREENLAND). I had fun googling the area Nuuk.
BOLD ...& HONEST are words that keep coming to me when I think of what Niviaq created. It’s also scathingly funny at times. A poignant - observant rude awakening- of self- discovery. Life happens in Greenland!

Thank You Netgalley, Grove Atlantic, and Niviaq Korneliussen - I look forward to reading more novels from you.
Profile Image for Meike.
1,474 reviews2,309 followers
July 9, 2020
28-year-old Greenlandic writer Niviaq Korneliussen is beating the odds: Hailing from a country with a population of around 56,000 which is still hugely influenced by the literary traditions of its former colonial power, Denmark, Korneliussen managed to cause quite a stir with her original writing that shows new paths for Greenlandic literature. Originally published in 2014, her debut novel "Last Night in Nuuk" (US) / "Crimson" (UK) (then titled "HOMO sapienne") was nominated for a Politiken literary award and the Nordic Council Literature Prize, and Sjón just recently included Korneliussen's short story "San Francisco", which features one of the book's protagonists, in his anthology of Nordic fiction, The Dark Blue Winter Overcoat & Other Stories from the North.

"Last Night in Nuuk" tells the story of five young Greenlanders struggling with their sexual and gender identity in modern-day Nuuk. Korneliussen masterfully moves between different perspectives as well as between time frames: The events of the title-giving night assume different meanings as the author starts to extrapolate. All of the protagonists have very distinct voices, and the text includes Greenlandic and Danish expressions that young people use (no worries, they are explained in the text). Turning away from traditional themes and tropes, the characters party, drink and have sex, they try to come to terms with their parents (who have been even more influenced by the Danish colonial rule), and they communicate with text messages and via postings on social media.

This is a fascinating book, and Korneliussen clearly has the potential to produce some first class literary fiction in the future. There is no doubt that she knows how to write relevant books full of sparkling language. We need more writers who find words like these:

"It was an honour to hold your heart, but my hands are all bloody, so you'd better take it or I'm gonna have to drop this sticky heart of yours."

Watch out for this writer. If you'd like to learn more about the book, you can listen to our podcast episode (about the German edition Nuuk #ohneFilter) here.
Profile Image for Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd).
332 reviews7,309 followers
May 9, 2019
I loved a lot of elements of this book, but I think the stuff with a trans character was not handled very well. A lot of it comes from a very cis-centric perspective and another character spends far too much time tying genitalia to sexuality. Having said that, I am a cis reviewer myself so I don’t want to speak over any trans reviewers who have a different perspective! If you’re a trans person who has read this book I would love to hear your thoughts and link to your review, if you have one.
Profile Image for Blair.
1,744 reviews4,171 followers
October 20, 2018
Originally published as Homo Sapienne and translated as Crimson (UK) and Last Night in Nuuk (US), this novel has been a surprise breakthrough hit for debut author Niviaq Korneliussen. In an interview, the author says the original text mixes Greenlandic with flecks of Danish and English; the UK publisher's blurb states she also translated it into Danish herself. (Whether the English translation is from the Greenlandic or Danish version isn't stated in the review copy I read.) The story follows a number of characters in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, as they explore their identities.

First we meet Fia, whose fierce and striking voice makes for a bracing opening chapter. In a furious stream of thoughts – sentences often running on for pages – she gives an account of her boredom with boyfriend Peter (dry kisses stiffening like desiccated fish), an unsatisfying one-night stand with a stranger, and the explosive lust that ensues when she meets beautiful Sara at a party. I loved Fia's chapter: it's furiously alive even when she succumbs to morbid thoughts.

Death has begun to appear in my dreams, and I'm petrified. Murder. Death of the soul. A shrivelled corpse. Suicide. Death has begun to visit me, and I'm petrified. Mass murder. A failed suicide attempt. Envious of the dead. I've begun to walk hand in hand with it, and I'm petrified. I make up my mind because death won't leave my mind. There has always been something missing here.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts' cover of 'Crimson and Clover' gives the book its title: it's Fia's favourite song, and becomes emblematic of her desire to be with Sara.

One of the most illuminating voices belongs to Inuk, Fia's brother, whose narrative serves to contextualise some of the others. Inuk is caught up in his own crisis of identity: he sees Greenland as a prison from which he must escape; he wants to support his sister but struggles with the news of her new relationship – at times hatefully parroting homophobic phrases he has, presumably, heard elsewhere – and, unable to believe Fia knows what she's doing, he suspects Arnaq's corrupting influence is responsible. Inuk's story mirrors Fia's in that he must endure a kind of death – life has killed me – before he is able to accept himself. This theme of rebirth is woven through the novel.

Arnaq threatens to become the villain of the piece – a free-spirited party animal who brings the others together and drives them apart, a whirlwind who seduces and spills secrets because she thinks it's funny – and when we see another side to her, it's heartbreaking.

Embarrassment. My thoughts fall to the ground, blown away by the wind. Disappear. Nothing left. Autopilot. My brain has switched off. Autopilot is switched on. The shame stops. Autopilot takes over. All feeling dies. My body walks on... Autopilot when I give. Autopilot when it's over. Autopilot when I've sinned. Autopilot when I'm sober. Autopilot forever.

The characters in Crimson are always partying and drinking – because they're lost, or because there's nothing else to do? (I thought it was interesting that many of them drink to excess on an eye-wateringly regular basis, but drugs are hardly ever mentioned. Is this emblematic of these characters' social scene or of Greenlandic culture as a whole?) 'Nuuk is big when there's actually someone you want to bump into', says Sara, but in reality Nuuk is stiflingly small – a capital city with a smaller population than the suburban town I grew up in.

The island has run out of oxygen. The island is swollen. The island is rotten.

There's something magical about the texture of Crimson, the way it evokes its setting so effortlessly and without cliche, the way it achieves depth of characterisation in short chapters, trimmed of all superfluous detail. It plumbs the darkest depths of its characters' despair but comes up sparkling, fresh, renewed. I thought this book was both electrifying and moving, and since I finished it, I've found myself thinking about it on a regular basis.

I received an advance review copy of Crimson from the publisher through NetGalley.

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Profile Image for Michael.
657 reviews966 followers
March 16, 2020
A fast-paced coming-of-age tale about an eclectic bunch of queer Greenlanders falling in and out of love with each other over the course of a chaotic weekend.
Profile Image for Jenny (Reading Envy).
3,876 reviews3,039 followers
February 18, 2019
This is definitely my first read by a native Greenlander! Last Night in Nuuk, published as Crimson in the UK, chronicles the lives of a handful of connected late teens and early 20somethings living in Nuuk (map it, there is not much there!) as they navigate relationships, substances, secrets, friendships and sexuality. I liked how the book flipped through different modes, from internal dialogues to letters to text conversations. I liked the diversity of the characters and also their fluidity at times. There is one major realization/confrontation late in the novel that made me feel a bit uncomfortable (I think it's better for individuals to let others know their gender if they feel so inclined, not have a romantic partner tell them who they are.)

I've had this on my radar for a few months so I was happy to see it in Hoopla so soon!
Profile Image for Roman Clodia.
2,393 reviews2,387 followers
October 5, 2018
This is a very short (the description says 200pp. but it took less than 2 hours to read: text messages and white space on the page) quasi stream-of-consciousness novel that has a modern sensibility: youth, drinking, restlessness, depression, love, most of all sexual identities. Perhaps it feels fresher in Greenland than it does in London where this kind of urban angst with hook-ups, gay and/or trans characters has an established place: does anyone turn their head at a young woman ditching her boring boyfriend and falling in love with a beautiful woman anymore?

At the risk of sounding annoying, this just isn't that edgy... That said, it captures a sense of frenetic confused youth, of possibilities and excitement. I'd have liked to have had a more grounded sense of Greenland - this could have been set in any university city with a pulsing student youth population.

Definitely worth reading for the buzz but I'm a bit on the shelf with this one.

Thanks to Virago for an ARC via NetGalley
Profile Image for Lisa.
95 reviews157 followers
July 7, 2022
Last night in Montreal I downed this book like so many bottles and my brain flooded with hormones. Is the party over already? Time to put the pieces together.

Niviaq Korneliussen wrote this at 23 and my 23-year-old self resurfaced for the ride. Reminiscent of angry-emotional text and email exchanges I would rather forget, I can hardly commend it for the literary value, and yet. Knock it back. Young love. Can't seem to stop.

I read it hot on the heels of a Booker winner everyone loved that left me meh, and was contemplating whether I was just no longer invited to the fiction party, but Niviaq had the right cocktail to charge me up and I have no clue who the hell to recommend this to except myself.

One long hangover of a book that I can so relate to. Striking in its immediacy. Thank God I have to work now or I'd probably go scar my eyes on some old messages best left to gather digital dust. Not perfect, but then, we are all growing and learning.
Profile Image for Lou (nonfiction fiend).
2,771 reviews1,617 followers
November 1, 2018
Crimson, Niviaq Korneliussen's first novella to be translated into English from its original Greenlandic, follows five LGBT twentysomethings living in the city of Nuuk and their journey towards understanding their identity. The key themes the author explores are those of gender, sexuality and relationships. For a very short novel, it packs a powerful punch and is a refreshing take on coming-of-age. Each chapter is told from a different character's perspective, and as well as the normal narrative there are text messages and Facebook posts interspersed throughout. It perfectly captures the confusion and opportunity of youth and of trying to find yourself as a person.

This is an emotive and heartfelt novella, but I would have liked the Greenlandic scenery to be more prevalent as it was not really focused on that much. I feel if you are setting a book in somewhere remote, icy and beautiful, you need to make the most of that. This is not a comfortable read, but I think the author has achieved what she set out to. Some of what is explored is likely to have come from Korneliussen's own experiences of growing up as a gay woman. Honest, brave and authentic, this is a quirky work with many important messages hidden throughout it.

Many thanks to Virago for an ARC. I was not required to post a review, and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Paula Bardell-Hedley.
148 reviews73 followers
October 31, 2018
“The island has run out of oxygen. The island is swollen. The island is rotten. The island has taken my beloved from me. The island is a Greenlander. It's the fault of the Greenlander.”
When one thinks of Greenland, the mental image is likely to be of a remote Arctic landscape shaped by glaciers, or perhaps one of a lonely Inuit hunter dressed in caribou skin clothing driving a dog sledge through icy winds. Indeed, this vast non-continental island with mountainous icebergs has the world's sparsest population with only the occasional village of colourfully painted wooden cottages dotted along its west coast. There are, however, a handful of large urban areas, including Nuuk, the capital city, with its apartment blocks, industrial buildings and avant-garde architecture.

It is here, author Niviaq Korneliussen has set her tale of love, lust, despondency and queer life. At weekends her wild, narcissistic young Greenlanders hook up with friends, meet lovers and indulge in one-night stands. They become drunk in downtown bars, get stoned at house parties, and generally desensitize themselves from overwhelming emotional issues – probably not so very different from young people the world over.

Its edgy characters include Fia who splits with her long-term boyfriend and becomes infatuated with Sara – although, the latter is really in love with Ivik who struggles with gender dysphoria. There’s Inuk, who almost loses his sanity questioning what it means to be a Greenlander and Arnaq, a manipulative, bisexual partygoer with a troubled past. We experience the same events, in turn, from the perspective of each person.

Crimson may sound amusing, but it isn’t. Quite the reverse: it is dispiriting and joyless, its protagonists resentful and discontented with their claustrophobic lives, but it is also a fearless work of modern literature. A sort of Greenlandic Trainspotting for the 21st century, but without the humour. The Guardian named it one of its top ten modern Nordic fiction books, and I can appreciate its reasons for doing so. While it may be self-absorbed, it is also original, inventive and touchingly courageous.

Korneliussen was born in Nuuk, South Greenland in 1990 and studied Psychology at Aarhus University in Denmark before spending a year in California as an exchange student. She started writing in 2013 and won many writing competitions in her homeland, where this novel was first published under the title of HOMO sapienne. She translated it herself from Greenlandic to Danish.

Many thanks to Virago for providing an advance review copy of this title.
Profile Image for Sarah.
1,197 reviews35 followers
December 15, 2018
It seems I'm an outlier on this one. For me, Last Night in Nuuk was confusing (the characters all had the same voice), quite superficial, had little character development and was just not all that compelling.

Thank you Netgalley and Grove Atlantic for the advance copy, which was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for verbava.
967 reviews94 followers
July 24, 2021
складена з чотирьох внутрішніх монологів і одного епістолярного розділу книжка про пошуки себе в (пост)колоніальній країні, культурно й економічно залежній від метрополії, патріархальній за світоглядом і не занадто схильній до всілякої там толерантності.

пошуки себе, щоправда, в основному зводяться до сексуальності. і я не кажу, що це погано, — тим більше, що в патріархальних і нетолерантних суспільствах сексуальність, яка не вкладається в нормативну, справді часто виявляється точкою збору для ідентичності, надто вже великі сміливість і рішучість потрібні, щоб її визнати; тим більше, що героям книжки р��ків по двадцять, і нескладно згадати, чим я переймалась у свої двадцять. та все одно здається, що в (пост)колоніальному суспільстві є значно більше ідентичнісних проблем, які принаймні могли б стати важливим тлом для цієї історії.

(і зненацька стає зрозуміло, які ж круті насправді «польові дослідження з українського сексу»).
Profile Image for Eric Anderson.
653 reviews3,203 followers
November 1, 2018
No doubt Niviaq Korneliussen’s debut novel will catch many people’s eye for the novelty that its young author is from Greenland, but its real appeal and power resides in its diversity of assertive young voices. The narrative follows five different characters whose romantic and familial entanglements with each other produce moments of self-revelation and big life changes over a night of drinking and partying in the city of Nuuk, Greenland’s capital. “Crimson” is heavily inflected with Greenlandic and Danish language, references and culture, but its themes of young adults trying to come to terms with their gender and sexuality have a much more global outlook. The characters communicate with each other through Facebook and SMS text messages, sum up their moods in hashtags and search Google for answers to life’s questions. These are young people you could meet anywhere in the world. I found it poignant how the characters corner themselves into moments of intense self-reflection through these intensely private and confessional forms of electronic communication. In this virtual space they gradually sift through ways of being to discover who they really are and what they really want. By relating their different points of view in a finely-orchestrated succession, Korneliussen builds an engaging story with many revelations and forms a picture of a modern generation in microcosm.

Read my full review of Crimson by Niviaq Korneliussen on LonesomeReader
Profile Image for Fanny.
259 reviews26 followers
February 19, 2019
Orignal, cru, franc. Une écriture particulière qui ne s'oublie pas. 4,5/5
Profile Image for Uroš Đurković.
565 reviews128 followers
April 19, 2022
U zbunu sam. A to nije loše.

Nuuk je prestonica Grenlanda, koji je (i dalje) pod danskom vlašću. Iako je Grenland ubedljivo najveće ostrvo na planeti, na njemu živi samo nešto više od 55 000 stanovnika. Od toga, trećina živi upravo u Nuuku. Poređenja radi, sličan broj ljudi ima, na primer, Lazarevac.

Shodno tome, ne želeći, naravno, da potcenjujem narativni potencijal manjih mesta, neko bi mogao pomisliti da bi roman smešten u Nuuk bio usporen, tih, neratoboran, možda čak i tradicionalan. Prvenac Nivak Kornelijusen je sve samo ne to – on je ubrzan, živ, ljut, urban, rasut, čak i histeričan roman. Autorka vrlo dobro oseća vreme i horizont digitalnih medija. Gungula pripovednih glasova predočena je uvek kroz krajnje sažete rečenice, a često kroz nekonvencionalne forme – SMS poruke ili unutrašnje monologe u odnosu na onlajn pretraživač ili društvene mreže. Naviknut na nordijsku ljubav prema tišini, iznenađen sam kako je ovde sve bučno – sve mora da se kaže, čak i ono što ne treba i što ne može. Identitetske, seksualne i socijalne borbe dezorijentisanih junaka koji imaju dvadeset i neku godinu, nipošto nisu lokalnog karaktera. Napetost želje za dopadanjem, prihvaćanjem i stalna potreba za pronalaženjem ličnog uporišta, presudno je za njihovu motivaciju. Žurke, telo, klinački humor, neverstvo, žamor, samoća-u-kojoj-nisi-sam, nesigurnost, društveni pritisak, poznati su u različitim vidovima na svim meridijanima. Ipak, malo smešno deluje, iako ima osnova, da se ovaj roman podvede pod kategoriju omladinske literature. Prevlast toka (neurasteničnih) svesti više od psihološkog portretisanja tiče se nezavršivog procesa uobličavanja identiteta i nesporazuma koji proizilaze iz njega. Sve je queer, a queer je i subverzija i patnja i džumbus.

Uvek volim kada pronađem nešto iz književnosti koja mi je manje poznata. I mada je Kornelijusen vrlo oštra prema svojoj domovini, verujem da će žitelji Grenlanda imati razloga da budu ponosni na nju. Pokušati napisati nešto autentično, a uzbudljivo savremeno, nije mala stvar. Isto tako je sjajno razbiti uvreženu predstavu o Inuitima kao zaostalim i nekomunikativnim ljudima koji žive u igluu i kojima ne treba frižider.
Profile Image for Camille Ammoun.
Author 4 books90 followers
July 22, 2022
Belle lecture, la traduction de ce roman trilingue est un tour de force.
Profile Image for Tomasz.
393 reviews730 followers
June 18, 2022
Bardzo dużo w tej książce jest gniewu, co prawda w większości uzasadnionego, ale te negatywne emocje udzieliły mi się podczas lektury i czytając czułem się wręcz zmęczony. Nie mam pojęcia, kto mi powiedział, że ta książka jest młodzieżówką, ale ABSOLUTNIE nie jest, dużo tu imprez, alkoholu i tematów związanych z seksem. Podobało mi się kilka rzeczy, np. przedstawienie tych samych wydarzeń z punktu widzenia kilku bohaterów, ale irytujących elementów okazało się niestety więcej.
Profile Image for Oriana.
Author 2 books3,261 followers
February 5, 2019
I grabbed this along with a slew of other proofs at the Strand recently. I didn't know anything about the book or the author, but when I got home I realized that I'd gotten a half-dozen different novels by or about a youngish woman living in or hailing from a country I don't know very much about. So apparently that's my Big Mood right now.

Anyway, this was... fine. It's very young and very of-the-moment. It follows five early-twentysomethings over a few days of their lives in Greenland. There's a lot of sex and sexual awakening and sexual discovery, and also a lot of longing, angst, despair, infighting, drunkenness, regret, and triumph. Plus a good amount of queerness, gender dysphoria, infidelity, narcissism, navel-gazing—pretty much exactly what you'd expect from a group of just-post-college youths finding their way.

So, fine. The writing style is full of motion. There are a lot of hashtags, journal entries, and text chains. Everything has that urgent sense of self-importance, because at that age everything is drastically important; whether it's kissing this girl or having this drink or ending this friendship, it has to happen right the fuck now.

I guess I'd expected things to feel different because this takes place in Nuuk, because Greenland is so wildly outside of my cultural knowledge, but it just reads pretty universal, kids being kids, and I am almost forty and therefore as old as the hills, and this kind of thing just doesn't really hold my attention so much anymore.
Profile Image for Dan.
443 reviews4 followers
February 13, 2019
Excellent article on "How Greenlander Niviaq Korneliussen’s Queer Millennial Novel Turned Her into a Literary Star by Alison Tate Lewis in February 5th Electric Lit.

Whoever thought that Crimson and Clover hearing Crimson and Clover pop up on a '60s oldies radio station would immediately bring me back to Last Night in Nuuk? But there it is: a well-executed and highly memorable novel, even more rewarding and interesting when reread.

@Tommyjamesandtheshondells to score Last Night in Nuuk on screen??? #crimsonandclover #overandover

Niviaq Korneliussen’s Last Night in Nuuk isn’t your average LGBTQIA youth novel to burst out of Greenland. Nanortalik’s own Korneliussen provides an always fascinating, occasionally confusing polyvocal novel told through five apparently 20-somethings living in Nuuk. Korneliussen animates Fia, Inuk, Arnaq, Ivik, and Sara through their utterly believable and sometimes discomfiting first person voices. We hear their voices through stream of consciousness, emojis, texts, Facebook DMs, hashtags, and emails, all perfectly replicating today’s communication. Korneliussen convinces us of her characters’ struggles with romance, sexual identify, and navigation of day to day existence and friendship. The believability of the five voices in Last Night in Nuuk comes at a cost: even this reader—rarely squeamish when confronting fictional characters—might have preferred knowing less of, for example, the details of Arnaq’s hangover. And some of the voices—especially those of Fia, Inuk, and Ivik—sound most consistently distinct to me.

#NowIdonthardlyknowher and #ButIthinkIcouldloveher accurately describe Fia’s and Ivik’s emerging identities. Here’s Fia describing her frustrations with Peter, her roommate and lover: ”I give up and go into my room, log on to Facebook, would like to tag Peter and write: does anyone want this man who never grumbles and never glances at anybody else, I’m tired of my life, my back hurts because I always sit hunched over, he loves me so much that I want something evil to take possession of my body so that I can knife him, four years to prison, rehabilitation, a new life, maybe a more exciting life. . .” Here’s Fia again soon after: ”WHAT? My own thoughts frighten me. I don’t want to kiss her! What am I thinking of? I know my boundaries. My boundary stops here. Why the hell would I want to kiss a woman? Listen, you’re not into women! I tell myself.” And here’s Ivinnguaq recognizing herself as a man, Ivik: ”My sould finds solace in my body. Now that my body has finally found the answer, my soul is no longer in doubt. I was born again when I was twenty-three years old. I was born as Ivik.”

Reading Last Night in Nuuk brings to mind Sally Rooney’s Booker 2018 long-listed Normal People and Anna Burns 2018 Booker-winning Milkman. All three novels deal with teens and 20-somethings struggling to learn about their own and their friends’ identities, all deal with romance and sex, and all convey social claustrophobia. Last Night in Nuuk, like Milkman, layers in concerns about nationality and culture. Here’s Inuk’s e-mail to his sister Fia, after he’s fled to Denmark: ”What it really means to be a Greenlander: You’re a Greenlander when you’re an alcoholic. You’re a Greenlander when you beat your partner. You’re a Greenlander when you abuse children. You’re a Greenlander when you were neglected as a child. You’re a Greenlander when you feel self-pity. You’re a Greenlander when you suffer from self-loathing. You’re a Greenlander when you’re fall of anger. You’re a Greenlander when you’re a liar.” And then here’s Inuk a week later, still in Denmark: ”Greenland is not my home. I feel sorry for the Greenlanders. I’m ashamed of being a Greenlander. But I’m a Greenlander. I can’t laugh with the Danes. I don’t find them funny. I can’t keep up a conversation with the Danes. I find it boring. I can’t act like the Danes. I’m unable to imitate them. I can’t share Danish values. I don’t respect them. I’ll never look like the Danes. I can’t become blond or fair-skinned. I can’t be a Dane among Danes. I’m not a Dane. I can’t live in Denmark. Denmark is not my country. Where is home? / If home isn’t n Greenland, if home isn’t here, where is my home? /Lost.” And most important of all, where Last Night in Nuuk stands apart from Normal People and Milkman is putting LGBTQIA youth, their struggles, their romances, and their lives at the epicenter of her novel.

Last Night in Nuuk may appear to be a novel that can be read quickly, but this would do it a disservice. Niviaq Korneliussen gives us a lot to ponder and unpack, and her Last Night in Nuuk demands a thoughtful reading and rereading. It’s a novel that deserves to be widely reviewed and widely read, and to attract the same attention lavished on Normal People and Milkman and largely denied Olumide Popoola’s When We Speak of Nothing and Sjón’s Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was.

I would like to thank Black Cat New York/Grove Atlantic and NetGalley for providing me with an e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Carolyn Walsh .
1,445 reviews575 followers
April 11, 2019
I want to commend the author for her talent and originality in writing a genre-defying book which is difficult to categorize. Nordic literature usually presents us with mystery and brutal crime. This book puts a modern urban spin on the emotions and thoughts of 5 young people during a night of drinking and partying. Told in interesting modern prose which is gritty, bold and edgy, they experience the pain of self-discovery and self-doubt and start the process of transformation into the sort of people they are meant to be.

We are shown the shame which LGBT young people may experience while coming to terms with relationships and their sexual and gender identity. Living in the small, urban centre of Nuuk (Greenland’s capital; population 17,000) they feel the claustrophobia and also some homophobia inherent in a confined, isolated city where everyone knows the other inhabitants.

We share their fears, anger, depression, and their yearning for loving relationships through streams of consciousness, text messages and email. It took some time and effort to figure out whose thoughts and emotions were being shared. I wished that the various characters’ streams of consciousness were more clearly identified and marked, in order to more readily know whose inner voices and thoughts I was reading. As a result, the story didn’t flow smoothly for me.

Fia has left her kind boyfriend, Peter, after a three year relationship. She was becoming bored and repulsed by him. She strong feelings of desire for the beautiful Sara and feels it is love at first sight. Fia is presently staying with the bisexual Arnak who is an alcoholic, jobless, intent on partying, getting drunk and picking up either a male or female. Arnak was abused as a child, and her economic instability is common among the youth.

Sara lives with Ivik who secretly plans a gender transformation from female to male.

Inuk is Fia’s younger brother he was best friends with Arnak until she outed his possible homosexual affair with a politician. Feeling betrayed, he fled to Denmark. We follow his communication with sister, Fia, through emails and text messages.

The style of writing (stream of consciousness) allowed us to share the conflicts and struggles of the characters, but I felt a lack of connection. Perhaps this was because I was sometimes slow to grasp whose voice and inner thoughts I was experiencing. I also did not feel a strong sense of location. These young people could be situated in almost any urban area.

Unlike most familiar Nordic writing, this book is remarkable as it puts a young, modern spin on life in Nuuk, the conflicts and desires in the life of a group of young people. I wish to thank NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for the ARC in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Book's Calling.
218 reviews410 followers
September 8, 2019
„Lásku nic na světě nepřekoná.“ Přečetl jsem svůj první grónský román, i když do češtiny byl přeložený z dánštiny (a to bývalým velvyslancem v Dánsku Zdeňkem Lyčkou). V knize Homo sapienne se v roli vypravěče střídá pět hlavních postav — bisexuálka, gay, dvě lesby a transgender osoba. Všichni vstupují do různých vzájemných vztahů, řeší běžné záležitosti mladých lidí, chodí na párty, opíjejí se, mají spolu sex, jsou smutní. Ze začátku mě kniha úplně neoslovila, ale každou stránkou se to zlepšovalo, až jsem u jedné kapitoly měl slzy v očích. Možná si řeknete to samé, co já — o Grónsku vlastně nic nevím, jen takové ty základní věci, jako je led a sníh, Inuité, krásná příroda. Ale ono je to vlastně úplně jinak (i když ty banality, co jsem vyjmenoval, jsou pravdivé). Už jen proto stojí za to si tento román přečíst. Téma LGBT je pak milým bonusem. Mimochodem, některá inuitská slova přešla do evropských jazyků, jde například o anorak, kajak, nanuk či iglú.
Profile Image for Bogi Takács.
Author 55 books564 followers
April 13, 2021
Contemporary queer fiction set in Greenland by a Greenlandic Indigenous author. I liked it - the anger, the uneasy fit with the world, the dynamism that pushes against conventional narrative framings.

The characters aren't nice tidy queer types, they are all struggling and some of them do messed-up things (one of them really painfully outs someone else as gay). Around the first five pages or so, I was wondering if I really wanted to read this book with a lengthy chapter in this particular character's this particular voice, but I kept on reading and it really clicked after a few pages. (Someone else left a bookmark in my copy at the exact spot - so I guess they did not keep on reading. But that meant more books for me!)

After I read the book, I found a lot of criticism of how it handled the trans character (a lot of it from cis people, which honestly made me uneasy) - I also had slight misgivings, but mine were different? I personally really liked that 1. the trans character had a messy breakup, but came out as trans after that, and not before, which is how it usually goes in books, 2. the trans character had to be cluebatted by the people around him that he was trans. Honestly this was my life experience, I feel like the entire world was convinced I was trans while I was like "I???? Am cis??? I guess???? I am confused???? But I am definitely cis!!!" Lol. (I never really felt like any gender, but I really tried to convince myself of being cis. It's not exactly the same experience as in the book, because I had these reactions in part due to medical policing of my sex and mistreatment around that as an intersex person, but I definitely had the "everyone is telling me I'm trans... wait... I'm trans?!")

My issue with the trans aspects of the text was different, namely that the beginning of the trans character's PoV chapter was really excessively "I wasn't one of THOSE girls", but in a more simplistic way than I would have liked; in retrospect it's clearer that this is a defense mechanism, but I felt it could have been handled more elaborately even while keeping it clear that the PoV character doesn't have very elaborate thoughts about it (that happens!).

I also really appreciated the engagement with colonialism and a character moving to the center and feeling out of place there too.

I could really relate to a lot of the emotions and portrayal of early-twenty-somethinghood in this book - even some of my experiences that I would have characterized as quite specific to time and place (and a different time and place!). Much more so than most of the other books in this vein.

Still thinking about this one and will probably be thinking about it for a while.

Source of the book: Bought with my own money at the library booksale
Profile Image for effbee.
149 reviews310 followers
February 2, 2023
crimson and clover??? but I don't hardly know 'er!!!

I have such an admiration for writers who clearly have something to say and can execute their vision how they need, without regard for convention. This kind of raw passion is what I find compelling above all else, and Crimson delivered.

“It was an honour to hold your heart, but my hands are all bloody, so you'd better take it or I'm gonna have to drop this sticky heart of yours.”

This novel (novella?) is undeniably affecting. We follow five inhabitants of Nuuk, Greenland as they each experience a great shift in their relationships following a party. Told in five respective parts that weave together a mixture of stream-of-consciousness prose, letters, text messages and ponderings. We learn of each character's movements leading up to and during the fateful evening, of what occurred from each of their perspectives as they deal with the tragic and wonderful consequences.

There is a claustrophobia to this novel that kept me gasping for more. Greenland only became self-ruling in 2009 and at the time had an incredibly high suicide rate. The heaviness of Danish rule hangs over the characters, is palpable in the need to escape the symptoms common of colonialism; Alcoholism, sexual abuse, homophobia and poverty. Whether through denial, partying, substances or connection. For the youth, particularly the queer youth of Nuuk, the relationship with country is bittersweet and complex.

“The island has run out of oxygen. The island is swollen. The island is rotten. The island has taken my beloved from me. The island is a Greenlander. It's the fault of the Greenlander.”

I do not doubt the novel is most understood when written in the author's native Greenlandic, but I really enjoyed this translation, specifically the the meaning and often double meanings of Greenlandic names. There is an unpretentiousness, and, for lack of better word, fun to the writing. Certain sentences just really tickled me, like I caught myself heeheeing out loud. It's nice when you can feel a writers joy for writing, and rarer than one would like.

Fia leaves her long-term boyfriend and finds herself unable to lie to a beautiful woman named Sara. Her disgraced brother Inuk flees to Denmark but cannot make himself Danish. Ivik cannot stand letting their girlfriend Sara touch them. It is Arnaq's chapter that I enjoyed most—she is the chaotic life of the party that links our cast together, and, through morally dubious trauma-informed decisions, sets into motion the whole chain of events.

Where I did feel about uneasy was in the discussions of gender and genitals, I feel there was a bit of nuance lost. I can't exactly put my finger on a specific passage but overall I feel the subject was glossed over where I would have liked it to have more time.

What a surprising little gem :--)
Profile Image for Calzean.
2,591 reviews1 follower
September 16, 2018
An interesting and rarely seen insight into the nightlife, loves and partying in modern day Greenlanders. Told by a handful of narrators using techniques that include emojis I found the telling of sexual awakening and various relationships to be very well done by an author of quite some talent.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
3,554 reviews2,534 followers
Shelved as 'unfinished'
December 5, 2018
(DNF @ 7%) I was keen to try this because Greenland has been one of my surprise reading themes this year in both travel books and novels, but this was definitely not for me. I didn’t get far enough into the story to comment on it, but what I did read was drenched in sex talk, with f***ing appearing in pretty much every sentence. One line I liked: “Dry kisses stiffening like desiccated fish.”
Profile Image for Mylène Fréchette.
226 reviews12 followers
March 19, 2019
Wow! Quel excellent livre! J'ai vraiment adoré ma lecture. Une jeune autrice à suivre, assurément!
Profile Image for Marie-Therese.
412 reviews164 followers
February 27, 2019
3.5 stars

Naive and sometimes awkward, but also truthful, affecting, compelling, and energetic. This fresh take (there's texting! there's hashtags!) on modern relationships among siblings and lovers in a close-knit circle in Greenland's biggest city is not perhaps the most subtle thing I've ever read but it's genuinely touching (like I had tears in my eyes as I read some paragraphs) and fully imbued with a zest for life and for writing that can't be faked. Korneliussen channels her young, queer, and questing voices really well and each feels like an individual character within her linked narrative. Easy to read and easy to like-this is a warm, heartfelt, loveable book sure to appeal to anyone who's looked for love in the wrong places only to find it waiting where it's least expected.
Profile Image for Denisa T..
163 reviews62 followers
October 23, 2019
Rozhodně zajímavé čtení, protože kdo z vás může říct, že už něco četl od Gróňanky, žejo :). Čte se to samo, kompozice spojená s hudbou a různými úhly pohledů na stejnou věc je promyšlená, vložená internetová/smsková komunikace osvěžující a tamatika rozdílných sexualit potřebná, přesto tomu prostě něco chybí. Neuzemnilo mě to, neuměla jsem se vcítit do těch postav (a nemyslím si, že by to bylo tím, že jsem hetero)... Každopádně díky za to, že jsou do čj překládány knihy jiných malých národů a my se tak můžeme obohatit zase jinak.
Profile Image for Erin Glover.
451 reviews36 followers
February 16, 2019
Adored this impish lesbian love story. Centers on a group of 20-something friends, lovers, and a brother and sister in Greenland during modern times. Full review to follow.
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