On the Calculation of Volume (Book II) (Paperback)

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On the Calculation of Volume (Book II) By Solvej Balle, Barbara J. Haveland (Translated by) Cover Image

On the Calculation of Volume (Book II) (Paperback)

By Solvej Balle, Barbara J. Haveland (Translated by)

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Tara Selter’s epic journey through November 18th continues in Book II of the masterly On the Calculation of Volume from one of Scandinavia’s most beloved writers.


The first year of November eighteenth is coming to a close, and Tara Selter has returned to her hotel room in Paris, the place where it all began. As if perched at the edge of a precipice, she readies herself to leap into November nineteenth.


Book II of Solvej Balle’s astounding seven-part series On the Calculation of Volume beautifully expands on the speculative premise of Book I, drawing us further into the maze of time, where space yawns open, as if suddenly gaining a new dimension, extending into ever more fined-grained textures. Within this new reality, our senses and the tactility of things grows heightened: sounds, smells, sights, objects come suddenly alive, as if the world had begun whispering to us in a new language.


And yet as the world announces itself anew, Tara’s own sense of self is eroding, making her wonder just which bits of her are really left intact? “It is the Tara Selter with hopes and dreams who has fallen out of the picture, been thrown off the world, run over the edge, been poured out, carried off down the stream of eighteenths of November, lost, evaporated, swept out to sea.” She begins to think of herself as a relic of the past, as something or someone leftover, similar to the little Roman coin she carries around in her pocket, without a purpose or a place.


Desperate to recover a sense of herself within time, Tara decides to head north by train in search of winter, but soon she turns south in pursuit of spring, as she tries to grasp on to durational time through seasonal variations. Amazingly, On the Calculation of Volume Book II is all movement and motion—taking us through the European countries of the North and the South, through seasons, and languages—a beautiful travelogue that is also a love letter to our vanishing world. To be continued.



Solvej Balle was born in 1962, made her debut in 1986 with Lyrefugl, and she went on to write one of the 1990s’ most acclaimed works of Danish literature, According to the Law: Four Accounts of Mankind (praised by Publishers Weekly for its blend of “sly humor, bleak vision, and terrified sense of the absurd with a tacit intuition that the world has a meaning not yet fathomed”). Since then, she’s published a book on art theory, Det umuliges kunst, 2005, a political memoir Frydendal og andre gidsler, 2008, and two books of short prose Hvis and , published simultaneously in 2013. On the Calculation of Volume is Solvej Balle’s major comeback, not just to Danish or Nordic fiction, but—expanding the possibilities of the novel—to all of world literature.

Barbara J. Haveland (born 1951) is a Scottish literary translator, resident in Copenhagen. She translates fiction, poetry and drama from Danish and Norwegian to English. She has translated works by many leading Danish and Norwegian writers, both classic and contemporary, including Henrik Ibsen, Peter Høeg, Linn Ullmann and Carl Frode Tiller.
Product Details ISBN: 9780811237277
ISBN-10: 0811237273
Publisher: New Directions
Publication Date: November 19th, 2024
Pages: 176
Language: English
An ambitious septology… Solvej Balle’s completely distinctive phenomenological poetry vibrates even more intensely. Her keen eye for the world’s smallest, tiniest details  becomes increasingly a form of attentiveness.
— Weekendavisen

There is little doubt that Solvej Balle is in this volume preparing a masterpiece – her magnum opus itself.
— Stavanger Aftenblad