One of Us is Sleeping by Josefine Klougart, translated by Martin Aitken (Open Letter, 260 pages, July 12)
The second novel in Open Letter's Danish Women Writers Series (the first is Naja
Marie Aidt's Rock, Paper, Scissors), One of Us is Sleeping is not so much a book as a doorway into one woman's brain.
The narrator's two main preoccupations- the disintegration of an intense romantic relationship and her mother's cancer diagnosis- are woven together in a tight coil of regret, doubt, and nearly-crippling anxiety. Just as many of us cannot help but rethink and rehash certain details of our lives, questioning our actions and others' motives until we nearly drive ourselves crazy, so the narrator jumps around in her memory to try to figure out where her relationship went wrong. Old conversations, silences, separations- all swirl around in her mind, often marked by brief but intense reflections on the nature of time, colors, home, love, and more.
Klougart deftly transports us into another person's mind while simultaneously showing us our own. One of Us is Sleeping is a novel about missed connections, lost opportunities, and the trap of standing still instead of moving forward. It's haunting, but the only ghosts are in the narrator's own memory.