New Zealander Keri Bloomfield falls in love with a Danish man and uproots her life to live with him in Copenhagen, Denmark – arriving to start this life journey with their four-month-old baby in tow. Nothing Like a Dane is her humorous and heartfelt memoir of navigating her first couple of years living in this Scandinavian country.
I’m of Danish descent, so I read this book with great interest, as so far, I’ve never had the chance to travel to Denmark. It’s fascinating to see the many differences between how Danes and Kiwis live.
Denmark is where nine out of ten Danes own a bike, but only four out of ten own a car. It’s a place where the word ‘please’ doesn’t exist in the Danish language, where babies sleep in prams outside, the pastries are delicious, and the word for bread is impossible to pronounce. It’s also a place where people are highly educated, childcare is subsidised for 0-to-5-year-olds, rules are rules, and they will never be creatively interpreted, and the Danes have a high level of trust in their government.
Keri shares her day-to-day realities of living in Viking Land, learning the language, navigating all the cultural nuances of their life from grocery shopping to social occasions, from interrogations from officials to the causal attitude to nudity on their beaches and around the showers of their public swimming pools.
Nothing like a Dane is a beautifully written memoir that will leave you wanting to read about the next instalment in Keri’s life. This is a real-life search for hygge that is wonderfully entertaining. (And you will need to read the book to begin to grasp the concept of hygge.) I’d love to see more books from this talented and personable writer.
Reviewer: Karen McMillan