Birte Kont

Hun vokser op i en jødisk familie i skyggen af anden verdenskrig, hvor fortielse og ulmende jødehad eksisterer side om side.

I hele sin barndom og ind i ungdommen bliver hun holdt uvidende om, hvad der skete med jøderne under krigen. Hverken hendes bedsteforældre, forældre eller onkler og tanter siger noget, det er en stiltiende overenskomst i familien, at man vælger at være tavs for at skåne. Men effekten bliver det modsatte. Det ufortalte vokser sig stort og uhyggeligt i barnets fantasi.

Københavnerstemningen i slutningen af 1950’erne og begyndelsen af 60’erne glider ind over billederne fra sommerlandet i Nordsjælland, hvor familien hver sommer residerer i et fiskerhus.

En by i Rusland er både historisk og aktuel. En på én gang bevægende og aldeles usentimental fortælling om en knastfyldt opvækst.

En by i Rusland er udkommet på Gyldendal april 2011

 

Anmeldelser

EN FREMRAGENDE ROMAN

”Selv i international sammenligning er ”En by i Rusland”s beskrivelse af den jødiske tavshed efter krigen og dennes virkninger på den følgende generation vedkommende – den er slet og ret imponerende.”

MORITZ SCHRAMM, KRISTELIGT DAGBLAD

 

”En fin fortælling om at være hjemløs i sit eget hjem og om at finde sig selv i historiens dybe rødder. Romanens emne er alvorligt, men Birte Kont har udstyret sin hovedfigur med en veludviklet humoristisk sans for alle de komiske paradokser, som taleforbuddet medfører i familien, der taler og taler uden at sige noget som helst.”

HENRIETTE BACHER LIND, JYLLANDS-POSTEN

 

”Birte Kont har skrevet en fin erindringsroman om en jødisk piges opvækst i 1950’erne og 60’erne. En hård historie om fortielsens pris, når voksne prøver at skåne sig selv for smertelig forvaltning af fortiden. Men den er også en underholdende historie om at være barn og ung i 1960’ernes København.”

MARIE LOUISE KJØLBYE, INFORMATION

 

MED PERFEKT GEHØR

”Faktisk er det fremragende. Det er skildringen af det uudsagte og dets betydning for vores navnløse hovedperson, som gør Konts bog til noget helt usædvanligt. Den er på en gang indfølt og skarp, og den bryder aldrig sin loyalitet over for de mennesker og det miljø, som den skildrer. Den rækker også langt ud over en simpel minoritetsbeskrivelse og beskæftiger sig med en almenmenneskelig erfaring. Det er det, som hæver ”En by i Rusland” op over de fleste andre bøger denne sæson.”

***** CHRISTINA BLANGSTRUP DAHL, FREDERIKSBORG AMTS AVIS

 

”Et fint lille erindringsværk med humor og indsigt. Birte Kont har skrevet en fin lille ’roman’ om en barndom blandt traumatiserede danske jøder. Overordnet set handler denne bog om nødvendigheden af at kende sin historie for dels at kunne tage den på sig, dels at komme videre.

**** MARIE TETZLAFF, POLITIKEN

 

”En smuk og klog bog om en pige, der endelig finder tilbage til sig selv, til slægten og til sin nærmeste familie. I det hele taget mestrer Birte Kont en rammende og sikker figurtegning, næsten altid med et lille glimt i øjet.”

**** JENS HENNEBERG, NORDJYSKE STIFTSTIDENDE

 

”En by i Rusland” er en fin fortælling. Den fortælles lavmælt, kærligt og med en god portion humor. Det er en historie om at man må vide hvem man er, for at blive den man er.”

BIRGITTE JØRKOV, HELSINGØR DAGBLAD

 

”En smukt sanset roman om en lille pige, der af misforstået hensyntagen bliver holdt uden for sin jødiske families forhistorie.”

LEKTØR PER MÅNSON

 

 

 

A PLACE NOWHERE

She grows up in a Jewish family in the shadow of the Second World War when suppression and smoldering antisemitism exist alongside one another. Throughout her entire childhood and during a good part of her youth, she is kept unaware about the fate of the Jewish people during World War II. Neither her grandparents, parents, aunts nor uncles mention anything because there is an unspoken agreement in the family to remain silent about what happened in an attempt to protect particularly the younger members of the family. But the agreement has an opposite effect to the one intended.  Everything that is left unsaid grows to frightening and exaggerated proportions in the mind of the child. The mood and atmosphere of Copenhagen at the end of the 1950′s and the beginning of the 1960′s move across images of the seaside resort area in North Zealand where the family resides every summer in a fisherman’s cottage.

A Place Nowhere is both historical and relevant for our times and is a moving yet unsentimental story about a troubled childhood.

 

A Place Nowhere was published by Gyldendal in April 2011.

Reviews  

 

A superb novel

”Even in an international context the  novel’s portrayal  of the Jewish silence after the War and the impact that silence had on the next generation is of extreme relevance today. The novel is truly an impressive piece of work.”
MORITZ SCHRAMM, KRISTELIGT DAGBLAD

 

“A fine narration about what it means to be homeless in one’s own home and finding one’s identity in the deep roots of history. Though the theme of the novel is serious Birte Kont has equipped her protagonist with a well-developed sense of humor, particularly when it comes to the many comical paradoxes that arise due to the family’s restriction of certain topics and their simultaneous tendency to talk endlessly without really saying anything at all.”
HENRIETTE BACHER LIND, JYLLANDS-POSTEN

 

”Birte Kont has written an excellent Bildingsroman about a Jewish girl’s coming of age in the 1950′s and ´60´s. It is a brutal story of the inevitable cost of silence when grown-ups choose to protect themselves from the painful task of unravelling their past. But it is also an entertaining story about growing up as a child and youth in Copenhagen during the 1960′s.”
MARIE LOUISE KJØLBYE, INFORMATION

 

Birte Kont Has Perfect Pitch for the Unsaid
”It’s an impressive piece of work. The fact that the novel is a portrayal of that which is left untold and the crucial role that it plays for our nameless protagonist  is precisely what  makes Birte Kont’s novel so special. It is empathic yet at the same time perceptive while never betraying the people nor the environment it depicts. It also extends far beyond the ordinary portrayal of what it means to be of a minority group and deals with an aspect of human existence that is universal and which is what lifts A Place Somewhere, Nowhere above most other novels this season.”
***** CHRISTINA BLANGSTRUP DAHL, FREDERIKSBORG AMTS AVIS

”An excellent little Bildingsroman that is filled both with humor and insight. Birte Kont has written an excellent little novel about a childhood amongst traumatized Danish Jews. The basic theme of the book addresses the necessity of knowing one’s own history in order to not only embrace it but, also to have the ability to get on with one’s life. ”
**** MARIE TETZLAFF, POLITIKEN

 

”A beautiful and clever book about a girl who finally manages to find herself, her lineage and her closest family. In general, Birte Kont artfully manages to provide a precise and convincing depiction of her characters, and almost always with a twinkle in her eye.”
**** JENS HENNEBERG, NORDJYSKE STIFTSTIDENDE

 

”A Place Somewhere, Nowhere is an excellent narration. It is told lovingly and in a subdued voice but, also with a fair amount of humor. It is a story about having to know, who you are before you can become what you are. ”
BIRGITTE JØRKOV, HELSINGØR DAGBLAD

 

”A beautiful, sensual novel about a little girl who, due to a misunderstood view on protection on the part of her family, is kept unaware of her Jewish family’s past.”
LEKTØR (Purchasing consultant for libraries) PER MÅNSON