Sunday 14 October 2007

Trine Villemann's book worst of 2007 - book review

Berlinske Tidende has published a damning review of the Trine Villemann book 1015 København K. In a review column by Jens Andersen (The Book Mountain, 14 October 2007), he writes:

In the competition for “Crap of the year in the book business”, Stig Elling’s self-satisfied chatterbox memoir has finally been given some serious competition.

Yes, you actually have to look for a long time to find such a cowardly and embarrassing publication as the royal gossip book, 1015 København K, written by the journalist Trine Villemann and which will be published on Monday by the publishing house of Ekstra Bladet.

The launching of the book is a chapter in itself. What does a paper like Ekstra Bladet do, which positions itself as the cheeky boy of the class. Without having the guts to write on the public blackboard that the Queen of Denmark is “anti-social”, “callous”, “religiously insane” and “rejecting” towards her two sons, one being “bone-idle” and the other a “cuckold”? You clear the Tuesday edition, write on the front page: “New book reveals the intimate life of the royals” and quote away from this so called “critical” book about the DRF.

A book that has been made and published by the paper's own publisher. Duh, that’s very clever!

On the press announcement from Ekstra Bladet’s publishing arm, it says that author and journalist Trine Villemann “through her excellent and solid network of sources documents a completely new and realistic view of the DRF”. That claim is about as truthful as the earth being flat and the moon being made of cheese. Trine Villeman documents absolutely nothing in her book. Nothing at all!

On the other hand she knits novel-like quotes from conversations, which – if they have taken place – must have taken four to five years of her life, together with constant references to sources, “who for may years have been close to the Queen”, “close friend of the Crown Prince”, “an employee at Amalienborg for many years”, “one of the friends at ballet”, “a friend of the Regent Couple”, “a guest at brunch” and someone who has been present at Henrik’s readings”. And so on and so on. In the 200 page book there are several hundred of that kind of ill-defined references to voices without head or body. “Some”, is even stated as a source.
Just as it is all the time “told”, “said” and “claimed”.

It becomes completely absurd when Trine Villeman’s “excellent and solid network of sources” in a chapter about Queen Ingrid is supplemented by a source “who has heard the story from her now late mother”. Oh my, you think. And, await with anticipation what Trine Villeman’s hairdresser down in Athens can tell about the intimate lives of the royals [she lives in Athens].

But, asks the curious reader, isn’t it, despite everything – on the basis of gossip journalism – a fairly entertaining book? No, it’s deadly dull and predictable as a changing of the guards. First and foremost because Trine Villeman puts forward her “documentation” as a second-rate popular literature writer, who among other things, quotes Queen Ingrid with the words “Oh sweet Daisy, I hope you do consider carefully, right?”, and through page after page divides the world into black and white. On the side of evil we find Queen Margrethe and Alexandra, and on the side the good stands Joachim and Mary – on the side of the lazy and spoiled, Crown Prince Frederik idles about.

And over and above it all, like a big girl playing with her petit bourgeois doll house “Amalienborg”, floats the journalist, who can now also call herself 'writer'. Trine Villemann has previously worked for Hjemmet (a weekly magazine), Billed Bladet, Ekstra Bladet, B.T., TV3 and BBC News and with all that mental ballast she hands out her sentence in a final, perspective chapter: “Nowadays the DRF consists of so much dead meat, that you can easily cut without it hurting”.

The same can be said about journalists in the book market anno 2007. After 16 weeks on top of the list of crap of the year and the Danish book business, Stig Elling and Aschehough (a publisher) have now been usurped by Trine Villemann and Ekstra Bladet’s publishing arm. Wonder if anyone can surpass this mess? by Jens Andersen. (thanks Muhler!)



Blogger Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Ja, den lyder sleazy.

1:23 pm  

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