Adda Djørup (b.1972) made her authorial debut in 2005 with a collection of poetry called Monsieurs monologer. Her work revolves around existential themes, with a twist of humour that suits her personal prose style and a distinct philosophical bite. All three of her publications have been praised by Danish critics. True to her versatility as an author, she is currently working on a libretto for a new opera. Djørup, who has lived in Madrid and Florence, is now back in Copenhagen. She holds a BA in Literature and, in 2007, she received an award from the Danish Arts Council. She is the mother of one child.
Translated by Walton Glyn Jones
The country lay bathed in sunshine. Undulating meadows, grazing cows and green deciduous trees frothing vigorously to the sky displayed their charm along their route. They stopped at a stall selling peas and berries by a picnic area on the edge of the forest, one of those small unattended stalls where you simply put your money in the kitty and in addition to the deal can delight in the sense of your own unforced honesty. Emma was perfectly well aware that Dagny Dombernovsky would not have been keen on a funeral cortege that turned up bearing three punnets of strawberries and a bag of peas, but never mind. Inga and John sat in the back commenting on what they saw and dropping the emptied peapods out of the window one by one. What was there really to get upset about? Jesper Espersen the undertaker’s office door was locked, although according to the notice showing the opening hours it should have been open. They asked the taxi to wait and went round the back to look for some member of the staff. They found a courtyard in which a shiny hearse was parked rather casually. Alongside the wall there was a row of well-tended evergreen potted plants. After knocking on doors and windows and shouting hello, they settled down on the benches and attracted the attentions of an affectionate cat that took a fancy to John and in the most cat-like manner rubbed against his legs and finally settled down at his feet, good heavens. Inga caught sight of a garden hose hanging on the wall. She took a punnet of strawberries and carefully washed the fruit. Back at the table she offered one to Emma and John in turn, taking every third one herself. Thus sat the strawberry eaters, each in convenient silence. Emma started to feel quite at ease. For a long time – watching a swallow darting back and forth between the rafters and the blue sky that puffed itself up more and more – she even forgot why she was sitting there. Jesper Espersen turned up about eleven o’clock on his bicycle with a bag of goodies from the baker on his carrier. He had his jacket slung over his shoulders and the dreadful tie sticking up out of his back pocket. Swinging his legs nimbly over the bicycle, he dismounted and said hello. Not with a single word did he refer to the fact that this was neither the day nor the time they had agreed, but he accepted a strawberry and invited them inside. They politely refused and he dodged inside himself to fetch the urn and a couple of papers that had to be signed.