A Line in the World: A Year on the North Sea Coast

Graywolf. Nov. 2022. 168p. ISBN 9781644452097. pap. $16. TRAV
Novelist and Man Booker finalist Nors (Mirror, Shoulder, Signal) muses on divergent, intertwined aspects of landscapes and life along the North Sea, from the west coast of Denmark, south to Germany and the Netherlands. From the region’s past and present, mostly around Jutland, Denmark, there are also vignettes and tales about its people, homes, lighthouses, church frescoes, dunes, and walking paths, along with explanations about how storm surges and the sea always prevails. Nors connects her own childhood experiences and her current transient life in the region to view the culture as an insider and outsider. Most stories, ranging from a chemical plant that causes irreparable damage to a seemingly vanishing abbey, migratory birds, and the surfing scene, traverse time and tie back to the present through the coast. Black-and-white drawings by Signe Parkins bring out the harshness of the landscape.
VERDICT Inquisitive and flowing, with plenty of insight into how North Sea cultures adapt and respond to the sea. More than a travelogue, with stories about life, death, and nature as an enduring, immovable, ever-changing force.
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