1993
Peer Hultberg
1962
2012

1993 Peer Hultberg, Denmark: Byen og Verden

About the author

Photo: Jutta Schwöbel

Peer Hultberg (1935 - 2007) - Denmark

Peer Hultberg grew up in Horsens and also spent some of his teenage years in Viborg. He studied musicology and Slavic philology, etc., before making a career in the university world, later to graduate in analytical psychology from the C. G. Jung Institute in Zurich in the 1970s. He made his literary breakthrough with his extremely multi-polyphone and barrier-breaking novel Requiem in 1985. He spent the latter part of his life in Germany.

About the winning piece

Byen og Verden

Published by: Lindhardt og Ringhof publishing company
Publication year: 1994

Byen og verden is a novel consisting of 100 micro-novels about the citizens of the author’s hometown Viborg. The narrator is omniscient in the old-fashioned way, but keeps an ironic distance to people, and the stories are not connected. Literally, no “Vi-borg” (no “we”) is established in the portrayal of the town. It is up to the reader to make the mortar and build connections. But the picture then painted of the town is dark, characterised by cruelty and cramped small-town mentality. Feelings of guilt and shame dominate the story, and the formal fragmentation of the novel is an artistically adapt contrast to the human isolation and exposure of the town dwellers.

This is what the Adjudicating Committee had to say

"Byen og Verden" is an uncompromising novel, rich and entertaining in its tension between material and form. The town of Viborg’s voice apparently tells us objectively about the residents in different social groups in a hundred micro-novels from birth to death. An intense feeling in every private fate with some meeting each other and others remaining alone.

Excerpt

Da Rigmor Fröhlich var blevet seksogfyrre gik hun fra sin mand og sine to piger. Hun ville finde sig selv, forklarede hun venner og døtre, hendes mand behøvede ingen forklaring, han vidste. Der var dem der undrede sig over at hun ville forlade det hyggelige hus på Morvillesvej som de ovenikøbet ikke havde haft så længe og som de havde brugt en mindre formue på at få sat i stand, men det var jo ikke et barn af kød og blod, en død ting var det, og for dens skyld ville hun i hvert fald ikke blive. Hun flyttede fra byen, hun tog til København, og det kom som et chok for hende at hun var gravid. Hun havde troet sig sikker og sikret på grund af sin alder men der var ingen tvivl, og der var ingen tvivl om at barnet ville hun under ingen omstændigheder have, hvorledes kunne en mand dog være så lumsk, og hun huskede udtrykket i Malte Stillings ansigt, jo han havde ganske vist nøje vidst hvad han ville, og det var at sikre sig at han trods sine femogtres år stadig kunne blive fader.


(s. 74-75, Lindhardt og Ringhof, 1994)

See all nominated in 1993  

Denmark

  • Peer Hultberg - Byen og Verden
  • Jens Smærup Sørensen - Breve

Finland

  • Olli Jalonen - Isäksi ja tyttäreksi
  • Tua Forsström - Parkerna

Iceland

  • Guðbergur Bergsson - Svanurinn
  • Ingibjörg Haraldsdóttir - Nú eru aðrir tímar

Norway

  • Stein Mehren - Nattsol
  • Bergljot Hobæk Haff - Renhetens pris

Sweden

  • Olof Lagercrantz - Att läsa Proust
  • Sven Lindqvist - Utrota varenda jävel

Faroe Islands

  • Gunnar Hoydal - Undir sudurstjørnum

Greenland

  • Mariane Petersen - Taallat: niviugak aalakoortoq allallu

The Sami Language Area

  • Synnøve Persen - Biekkakeahtes bálggis