Karate Chop

From the cold regret of "Do You Know Jussi?" to the stifling disillusionment in "The Winter Garden," from the chilling paranoia of "Female Killers" to the elegant melancholy surrounding "The Heron," the stories in Karate Chop are as tremendous as they are brief. The first of Dorthe Nors's work translated to English from the Danish, Karate Chop is a collection rife with secret resentment, saturated with unrequited desire and driven by the perpetual force of memory.

The art of the short story pivots on a moment when circumstances converge to coax someone's soul into the open and expose it to scrutiny--of others, oneself or the solitary reader. Nors crafts her stories around the densest moments in her characters' lives, drawing every fine detail, complex emotion and delicate turning point into a hefty blow. With each story weighing in at a mere four or five pages, Nors doesn't waste any time delivering a knockout.

Karate Chop will surely draw the rapt attention of fiction lovers reading in English, and here's hoping there is plenty more from Nors to be translated. Her spare prose and scrupulous structures leave her stories feeling haunted by the scent of warm laundry and gasoline, the ache of love and fresh bruises and the sound of a direct hit reverberating in ambient normalcy. --Dave Wheeler, publishing assistant, Shelf Awareness

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