The History of Danish Dreams A Novel

Peter Høeg; Translated by Barbara Haveland




Trade Paperback

416 Pages



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In a Danish feudal castle, in 1520, a count believes he has pinpointed the center of the universe—a patch of land on his estate. But when his discovery is met with disbelief, he walls off his mansion and has all of the clocks stopped. Four centuries pass instantaneously, and the count's young secretary, Carl, emerges from isolation to find a world bursting with war, innovation, love, sexuality, danger, and all the values of the sixteenth century turned upside down as though by supernatural forces—namely, the force of history. From one of our most gifted international writers comes a dazzling epic fairy tale, a tough fable about the gifts and iniquities of progress.


Praise for The History of Danish Dreams

"Great entertainment . . . Wonderful in scope . . . Crammed with Danish history, social realism, satire, magic realism, high romance, and sexual goings-on."—Newsday

"Høeg writes prose that is as bitter, changeable, and deep-fathomed as poetry—prose that demands to be read aloud and savored."—The New Yorker

"An exuberant, freewheeling fantasy."—The Washington Post

"A very fine piece of imaginative writing . . . Legends tinged with romantic melancholy, fictitious biographies, tall tales told with zest in bold lines."—The New York Times Book Review

"A young man's all-or-nothing book, as if Søren and Hans, those melancholy Danes, had teamed up and set sail with Melville and García Márquez to rewrite the universe."—The Nation

"A uniquely talented writer . . . A multigenerational saga spanning four centuries of Danish history."—Booklist

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Peter Høeg; Translated by Barbara Haveland

  • Peter Høeg is the author of the international bestselling novel Smilla's Sense of Snow. Born in 1957 in Denmark, he followed various callings—dancer, actor, sailor, fencer, and mountaineer—before turning seriously to writing. His work has been published in thirty-three countries.

  • Peter Høeg Copyright Ulla Montan
    Peter Høeg