Published in 2006, ‘Baboon’ (Danish: Bavian) is a short story collection by Danish author Naja Marie Aidt that won the ‘Nordic Council Literature Prize‘ in 2008 and the ‘Danish Critics Prize for Literature‘ in 2007. Naja Marie Aidt was born in Greenland from Danish parents and moved to Denmark at the age of eight: she made her literary debut in 1991 with the collection of poems ‘Så længe jeg er ung’. Aidt enjoys a very prominent position in her generation of Danish writers, and has written eight collections of poems, three collections of short stories, a feature film and a number of plays. ‘Bavian’ was published in 2006 and is a polyphonic and ambiguous short story collection: it can be read as a painting of contemporary Denmark, revealing and pointing to current frustrations and insecurity. Death is a steady companion that casts its shadow on the tediousness of everyday life. The book’s initial shocking story ‘Myggestik’ is both a farce about male self-deception and a close portrayal of the frailty of all human life. Sorrow and joie de vivre, anxiety and confidence are opposites that run like a red thread through Naja Marie Aidt’s short stories, where worldly wisdom also becomes a central theme in the end. In ‘Bryllupsrejse’, set in Greece, an insane man disturbs a young woman’s balance between what is masculine and what is feminine: this androgynous sexuality is a recurring theme throughout the short story collection. According to the Adjudicating Committee, the short stories in ‘Bavian’ start off in a world that appears indistinguishable from everyday life: Naja Marie Aidt writes with a graceful and ominous realism that draws out undertones of reality so that the reader becomes aware that everyday life is resting on a mycelium of potential disasters.
Books, Culture, Denmark, Greenland, Literature