Hanne Højgaard Viemose
On a Roadtrip in Iceland
“There's a lot of travelling in all my books."
Join us on this literary odyssey with Hanne Højgaard Viemose, an incomparable voice in Danish literature, who writes with liberating linguistic ferocity and devil-may-care nature. Travelling by car with her children and a friend, they filmed their trip with mobile cameras. At the same time a rough guide to Iceland and a portrait of a writer and her fictive alter egos. Read more …
In her most recent novel ‘HHV, FRHWN: Death Bang of the Amazon’ (2019), Hanne Højgaard Viemose introduces herself in this way:
“Hi, my name is Hanne, I’m a woman and a writer, 172 cm tall, 62 kg … 34C bra size, medium panties, I like nature, I’m a monkey, I can swing by my tail … have freckles and curls, two to four
children, a well-functioning uterus, serious PMS, irregular cycles, impressive milk production, which, to this day, three years after the last feeding, can get going from the sound of an infant.”
Højgaard Viemose came to live in Iceland due to her anthropological fieldwork on horse people in Iceland, where she met her ex-husband, had two children and got divorced. When she studied anthropology, the main focus was “primarily about understanding the most vulnerable people,” she says, “and that’s what I explore in my books as well.”
‘HHV, FRSHWN: Death Bang of the Amazon’ is the highlight of Højgaard Viemose’s series of novels about Hannah / Hanne / Anne / Anita, which also includes ‘Hannah’ (2011) and ‘Mado’ (2015). They can be read as a kind of serial describing a woman’s life, because “it’s the same main character, shown from different sides,” Højgaard Viemose says.
There are several similarities between the author and her main character “but I’m not always as vulnerable myself,” she states. “I’m interested in her when she’s mentally unstable or ill,” when she is “vulnerable and tormented by various forms of abuse.”
In ‘Mado’ it is a lot about settling down into a life with children. The main character travels from Australia to New Zealand before having a child in Korea. “There’s a lot of travelling in all my books. People travel a lot.” “I’ve tried to show that in my writing style as well. The language itself is very disconnected and wandering.” There is also a great variety in the genres of ‘Mado’. You find songs, sketches, diary extracts, notes and lists, which according to Højgaard Viemose reflect “a person who is having a hard time finding her place in the world. She is struggling to find a clear identity, drifting between places and identities.”
‘HHV, FRSHWN: Death Bang of the Amazon’ took five years to write. Højgaard Viemose “realized that the novel about setting your boundaries.” Another thing which is characteristic for her protagonist is that “she’s jumping from one thing to another in her life.” “If you haven’t quite got a grip on your life and your boundaries, it can seem like very different personas when you look back on your life.” “I don’t think you’ll ever reach a full understanding of your past.”
“So far in my books I’ve stuck to having a protagonist who is a lot like me, with problems that are familiar to me. Because it’s also about being convincing. You have to understand the problem that you’re writing about. You have to include a full life world with all that that entails in terms of fun, exposure and joys. The full palette of emotions and circumstances in life,” Højgaard Viemose states.
The video was recorded in the summer of 2020. Throughout the journey Hanne Højgaard Viemose is interviewed by journalist Lone Nikolajsen. Excerpts from ‘HHV, FRSHWN’ in the video are translated by Sharon Rhodes.
Camera: Hanne Højgaard Viemose & Lone Nikolajsen
Edit: Roxanne Bageshirin Lærkesen
Produced by Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2020
Supported by C.L. Davids Fond og Samling
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