It's Copenhagen, 1968. Lise, a children's book writer and married mother of three, is becoming increasingly haunted by disembodied faces and taunting voices. Convinced that her housekeeper and husband are plotting against her, she descends into a terrifying world of sickness, pills and institutionalisation. But is sanity in fact a kind of sickness? And might mental illness itself lead to enlightenment?
Brief, intense and haunting, Ditlevsen's novel recreates the experience of madness from the inside, with all the vividness of lived experience.
As always with Ditlevsen, The Faces is a novel about the agonies of love, about longing and infidelity and writing. Ditlevsen operates at the fringes of reality, mixing harsh social realism and tender poetic sensitivity. A novel that questions who is sick and who is healthy.
“But what was real here in the world, and what wasn’t real? Wasn’t it a kind of sickness, people going round clinging firmly to their own selves? All that chaos of voices, faces and memories, which they only dared let go of drop by drop and could never be sure of getting back.”
The Faces is the first part of Ditlevsen’s narrative about Lise Mundus, a portrait she finished seven years later with her final novel, Vilhelm’s Room.
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