Translated by Sherilyn Hellberg
Published on 2 August 2019
Paperback with flaps, 161 pages
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.
“The tone of the novel is set from the very first page. Alice, a brilliantly honest main character, narrates the novel in a uniquely fragmented style. Bille uses creative imagery that is sometimes disturbing, but always poetic.” – Buzz Magazine
“Alice in Wonderland like you’ve never seen her before.” – Octavia Bright
“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 and the complicated triangulations, mirroring and conflicts they might entail.” – Politiken
“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
“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
“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 (b.1993) 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