Read The Tsar's Dwarf (Hawthorne Books)

Read The Tsar's Dwarf (Hawthorne Books)
"A curious and wonderful work of great human value by a Danish master." Sebastian Barry, Man Booker finalist (Click on the picture to go to the book's Amazon page)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

No Wonder I Feel Right At Home In Gdansk, Poland (In The Company Of A Certain Naked Woman)

I'm presenting my novel The Tsar's Dwarf at Uniwersytet Gdanski in Poland, and no wonder I feel right at home.

A few minutes before my reading I run into The Little Mermaid. She's sitting stark naked in the hall trying to read Søren Kierkegaard. No wonder she looks depressed. But I've always been a fan of our national symbol, so I decide to cheer her up by gently stroking her breasts. She gets quite aroused, of course, and as you can tell from the picture I get tired from my handiwork.

Actually, I love the fact that the Danish national symbol is visiting Poland. We have a duty to share her with the world, so first The Little Mermaid went to Expo in Shanghai, and now she's hanging out at Uniwersytet Gdanski hoping to get laid.

"Your Danish mermaid used to sit in the Norwegian class room, but we got so sick of her we threw her out," Hilde, the Norwegian instructor tells me with a cruel smile. What she has replaced The Little Mermaid with I have no idea, but it's probably a statue of Quisling or Drillo, the two big Norwegian heroes.

Gdansk is beautiful. I had no idea that the historical center was so breathtaking. It took me back to the happy days of 1716 when everybody wore powdered wigs and didn't worry about the Euro.

Seriously, if I'd known that Gdansk was this gorgeous I would have gone years ago. Gdansk is only 50 minutes by plane from Copenhagen, but it seems like another world. The prices are low, the graffiti in the train stations are awesome, and people really know how to drink.

And hey, I'm deeply impressed with the language as well. The Poles don't believe in vowels. They were forbidden by law a long time ago. However, this country seems to have a kinky love affair with the letter Z. They put it absolutely everywhere, especially in places where it doesn't belong.

But as I said, what impresses me the most is the old part of Gdansk. It was expertly rebuild after the war, and even though the suburbs look grey and dreary, they still have a fifties charm with old train stations and houses with verandas that will collapse if a squirrel runs across the roof.

After three days in Poland I definitely feel like coming back and explore more of this exciting country. However, I want to avoid Krakow and Auschwitz. Those two places have too much in common if you ask me. In one place they don't like the Jews, in the other they don't like the English. But as everybody knows, the European Championship in football will be here next year. And Denmark will win, beating Poland 8-0 in the final.

Why? Because The Little Mermaid belongs to us. Duh!

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