There’s something very endearing about these essays by the late, great Knud Sønderby, which have been translated into English for the first time by Michael Goldman. Among the highlights in this fine collection are bittersweet reflections about owning a boat, musings about darkness and the sound of the wind in West Jylland, and observations about the people Sønderby encounters on his travels across the picturesque Danish landscape. Full of deft humor and thoughtful introspection, Fragments of a Mirror offers up glittering shards of Knud Sønderby at his finest.
—Nicholas Litchfield, author of Swampjack Virus, editor of Lowestoft Chronicle
Excerpt from the Essay:
The Wind in West Jylland
There is a painting by Jens Søndergård of a man standing by the North Sea. He is looking out over the water with his hands in his pockets, leaning forward at an angle completely at odds with the law of gravity, obviously a man who is about to fall, already well on his way down towards the sand. Yet he remains hanging there, held up by the gale. That is how you stand at the North Sea. Turn your head and your hair raises up, swept by the wind like the seaweed on the stones.
You stand leaning against the gale, under the element’s power, have to guide your breathing so you don’t get suffocated by too large a mouthful.
Sometimes you hear nothing but the whoosh around yourself.
The wind is playing on your body like on an instrument, drumming on your clothing, whistling through your nostrils and earlobes, howling in the corners of your mouth, new instrumental peculiarities at every change in position. And when you have adjusted yourself to the angle that provides a hiatus to the sounds around your person, then all at once you hear the ocean’s sinister tone in all its purity, reaching you from the surf.
Your ear is suddenly out there in the water, washed over like a shell by every
showering wave, swept back and forth in the breakers, polished against the sand
and water in the ocean’s heavy rhythm.