Johanne Bille

Translated by Sherilyn Hellberg

Published on 2 August 2019

Paperback with flaps, 161 pages

From Danish novelist Johanne Bille comes a tale of perplexing and forbidden love, in all its passionate glory. When Alice is with Mathilde, her experience of the world shifts, as though Mathilde brings with her a force that charges everything around her: the park bench, the sticky linoleum floor of the supermarket, their interlocked hands, the buttons on a winter coat. But Mathilde is also mercurial and “perfectly” married to Alexander, and Alice is moving into a bigger flat with Simon who has just returned to her life. Alice’s precarious solution is to proceed into a quadrilateral relationship, impatient to define her own outline in the eyes of others. 

In Elastic, Bille cleanly gleans the nebulous distinctions between love, sex and intimacy, exerting a softly fragmentary style that underpins Alice’s vacillations.


Elastic is difficult to let go of. It left me with the feeling of being seen. And not just seen: seen through.” – POV International 

“An excellent novel.” – Litteraturformidleren


“A novel that speaks quietly and yet insistently of the loneliness of being in love and the feeling of being trapped in one’s own body.” – Information

 “Bille’s Alice has relatives or even sisters in Françoise Sagan’s 1950s novels – there is something Saganesque about Elastic and its depiction of open love affairs, with the complicated triangulations, mirroring and conflicts that might follow.” – Politiken


Elastic is first and foremost a tale of Alice and her fumbling attempts to set love free. But it is the novel’s lonely, heartfelt voice and its unromantic depiction of love that gets stuck into your bones.” – ATLAS

 Johanne Bille is a Danish novelist based in Copenhagen. Elastic is her second novel, originally published in Danish by Forlaget Gladiator in 2018.

Sherilyn Hellberg is a literary translator. She has published translations of Tove Ditlevsen, Olga Ravn and Ingvild Lothe. In 2018, she received an American-Scandinavian Foundation Award for her translation of Caspar Eric’s Nike.

Cover by Clara Birgersson

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