Madame Nielsen’s latest novel, Lamento, teaches us that infatuation and love are two different things and that everyday life is the enemy of love.
Written by Nora Eckert
Book review / references
Madame Nielsen is no longer unknown in the literary market, but she has remained a mystery. Which is why she continues to attract stunning looks. So who is she? Certainly cross-border in matters of identity. Looking back a little: the novel, which was published in Denmark in 2014, was a huge hit with the audience endless summer, whose German translation followed in 2018. The reviews were as ecstatic as a dreamy Danish summer, full of enchanted people. With this novel, Madame Nielsen entered the theater and remains there to this day. Your name is more than a pseudonym, there is a lot of it in literature, it is more than a program. Because it involves an extraordinary resolution of life, as a mixture of art and life, reality and fantasy, literally engraved in the body.
This “endless summer” tells us about this life – and at the same time allows us to understand that no one has detected his transfigured presence here, but something completely different, for example the feeling that you look prettier in a woman’s role than in a “skinny old man”. Or this: “When I put on a dress, I feel like a woman, it has a different energy. I’m so light all of a sudden.” Let’s call it a stimulus to creativity. Because what appears to be a gender fluidity here serves more to mobilize creative energy. Behind him, the never-ending artist and musician Klaus Beck Nielsen, who symbolically buried himself in a show twenty years ago, only to live on in new novels always – like Madame Nielsen. revealed in 2018 toMirror“.
Desire has always played an important role for Madame Nielsen, and now it does so in the new novel lament, although the title frustrates expectation. Surely those who love may suffer, and desire can be painful, and for this reason lamentation is a faithful companion to every promise of happiness. In music, lamento is something with a painful and emotional tone, and we find it abundantly in the story. It begins with a prose poem and the thing that has no love – Il n’y a pas d’amour. It includes Bernard Marie Coltes and his play In the solitude of the cotton fields Above, but also Rainer Werner Faßbinder Fear eats the soul, where Madame Nielsen replaced love with fear, making them synonymous. Finally, the poem calls Patrice Chereau “the master of gays.” However, the relationship of this to the novel remains open.
On the other hand, the theater plays a certain role, but it is not homosexual as in the case of the above-mentioned legendary heroes of the theater. in lament Two young men meet and instantly fall in love. They shut themselves off and leave the world outside for a while as if it just doesn’t exist anymore. He writes for theater and novels. The constellation comes from Madame Nielsen’s private life. She recounts her marriage, from the point of view of his ex-wife, writer Christina Hesselholdt. Her story is addressed to a lover of their daughter. You and we readers should know thisHow her parents met, how they fell in love with each other, became guilty together and eventually lost each other again.
“I don’t know why I’m telling you this, it’s the kind of thing that no one needs to know, let alone a child, what are we supposed to do with that knowledge, it’s hard to be human as it is.” This should not be taken lightly, because the failure of marriage and therefore the failure of love is ultimately dealt with with devotion at all stages of the estrangement. What we learn from this is that life cannot be planned, especially when we leave everything as it is: “Things happen and you don’t have to think or desire anything or imagine or meditate on anything, just let yourself get carried away.” Reading however, I can’t get rid of the impression that this “let yourself go with the flow” as a motto for life has become after all is just an attitude. In any case, frequency is not a guarantee against life risks and side effects. On the contrary, it really attracts them.
It took some time to “warm up” with this novel. Because as a reader, I felt neglected and perplexed for so long. Well, Madame Nielsen loves the absurd, the mysterious. But in the context of the story, this changes and then comes down to reality in the third and final part of the novel. The couple have broken up and only got back together occasionally. Here, however, the life report appears more consistent and realistic. Because there is now a largely missing basis in looking initially polite.
Throughout the novel, Madame Nielsen distributes definitions of infatuation as altering aggregate states of a somewhat extreme human emotional world. Infatuation has no name and no face saying in one place and in another: “Infatuation has no language, it is an animal, it is the theater of cruelty. […]. “You know” death’s contempt, arrogance, invulnerability, and in the next moment falling into the void, a little anxiety, a great shiver. […]Then Madame Nielsen calls it a disaster that knows no bounds and poisons itself ‘and now revives forever.’ Finally, the infatuation can be so intense ‘that the love that is supposed to come from it becomes so disappointing. […]That’s exactly what happens – in the end, after all intoxication, disappointment.
The intoxicating nature of the language is often praised in reviews. One of the reviews talks about a great stream that comes from the language itself. Well, that’s exactly it could argue. Because nervous dashing sentences and convoluted language allusions, which suggest more than we know, do not in themselves warrant a suggestion. Sometimes it seems rushed, erratic and disparate, which prevents us from immersing ourselves in the stream of speech. But even as I let myself drift away from vague hints and thoughts, Madame Nielsen was reliably able to end the “intoxication” abruptly by using cliched entries like food and drink on the table or in the shopping list meant to slow us down readers, so to speak. It’s like turning on the light in a dream. You just have to hold Marie Claire Blaise against it to know how intense the “speech flows” can be experienced.