Havoc, Books on the Underground

Havoc, by Tom Kristensen

The Book Fairies caused some Havoc of a good kind on this drop. Copies of Havoc by Tom Kristensen journeyed their way around the London Underground this week.

About Havoc

Copenhagen, 1930. There is a ring at the door of Ole Jastrau’s fifth floor apartment that will ignite a spark of restlessness within his soul, leading him into darkened velvet portiere-entranced bars and brightly glittering night clubs, from the mundane grind of literary criticism to the nocturnal otherworld of alcoholism and prostitution.

Originally deemed a cynical, pessimistic – and, above all, overly revealing – portrayal of life as a newspaperman upon its release in interwar Denmark, Havoc has since gone on to become a much loved modern classic in its home country, with its ‘longed for shipwrecks’ verse becoming one of the most oft quoted in the Danish language.

Will Jastrau re-emerge intopolite society, or sink to a place from where he will never resurface?

Who found a copy of Havoc?

About Tom Kristensen

Kristensen was born in London to Danish parents, but grew up in Copenhagen and was educated at the University of Copenhagen. Kristensen is considered one of the most colourful poets of his generation.

In 1930 he published perhaps his most well-known work, the novel Hærværk (literally: Vandalism, published in English as Havoc in 1968). Hærværk is the story of Danish journalist Ole Jastrau who is driven to self-destruction by drinking himself to death. Apart from its presumed autobiographical character, it probably reflects the intellectual, political and personal crises of many writers and artists between the World Wars. A poem from this novel, Angst, with its fascination with disaster, has become a classic. The book is also considered one of the best literary Danish-language depictions of alcoholism.

If you missed us on the Underground this week, you can always order a copy from Hive.co.uk – Enjoy!


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