Rock, Paper, Scissors
Naja Marie Aidt
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
"The emotions unleashed in this tale . . . are painfully universal. Yet you know exactly where in the universe you are. This is the hallmark of great short stories, from Chekhov's portraits of discontented Russians to Joyce's struggling Dubliners."—Radhika Jones, Time
Naja Marie Aidt's long-awaited first novel is a breathtaking page-turner and complex portrait of a man whose life slowly devolves into one of violence and jealousy.
Rock, Paper, Scissors opens shortly after the death of Thomas and Jenny's criminal father. While trying to fix a toaster that he left behind, Thomas discovers a secret, setting into motion a series of events leading to the dissolution of his life, and plunging him into a dark, shadowy underworld of violence and betrayal.
A gripping story written with a poet's sensibility and attention to language, Rock, Paper, Scissors showcases all of Aidt's gifts and will greatly expand the readership for one of Denmark's most decorated and beloved writers.
Naja Marie Aidt was born in Greenland and raised in Copenhagen. She is the author of seven collections of poetry and five short story collections, including Baboon (Two Lines Press), which received the Nordic Council's Literature Prize and the Danish Critics Prize for Literature. Rock, Paper, Scissors is her first novel.
K. E. Semmel is a writer and translator whose work has appeared in Ontario Review, the Washington Post, and elsewhere. His translations include books by Karin Fossum, Erik Valeur, Jussi Adler-Olsen, and Simon Fruelund.
supporting herself against the wall as she inches forward in small strides, another set of glass doors, and at last he arrives. The doctor’s office door is open. He’s sitting behind his desk. Patricia’s back is to Thomas. The doctor looks up, sees Thomas. “Yes?” he inquires. And Patricia turns. Startled, she stares at Thomas. Thunderstruck, disbelieving, her eyes wide. “Can I help you?” the doctor asks kindly. “What are you doing here?” Patricia’s voice is harsh, almost a hiss. “Do you two know
chest, squeezing him, as if someone shielded behind iron is screaming in his face. In the silence of the street at night, he can see that he’s wandered off, down in the basement, in the completely opposite direction of his own door. He’s four doors from his own. It almost makes him smile—it’s so laughable, this. His watch shows quarter after 1:00 A.M. The wind has settled. How long did he stumble around in the darkness like a scaredy-cat? Slowly his breathing returns to normal, his pulse calm. A
conversations and the waiters’ shouts to the kitchen staff, who now and then can be seen through a slot in the wall. Thomas stands out among the assembled collection of not very tall people. He sits at the bar and thinks about his meeting this afternoon with the visual artist. Upon receiving the card, she’d come immediately to the store, apparently satisfied with the invitation to choose a fitting compensation for the “dried-out” colors, but then her mood shifted abruptly, and once again she
Patricia’s a much better swimmer than he is, and she shoots through the water with perfect ease, always keeping several lengths ahead. They wrap themselves in their towels and sit for some time, while the sun sinks on the horizon. The sky glows blood-red, the water darkens, a wide, seductive gold road heading straight toward the setting sun. “Look,” Thomas says, pointing east, “here comes the moon.” He takes her hand. It’s wan and wrinkly from the water. The small, pale half-moons of her
afternoon—when they sat bent over the notepad, each nibbling on a pencil, on the bed in the dying, weak light of the day, in the messy room, high as kites while the upstairs neighbor argued with his wife and the radiator dripped—he thinks of him as Maloney. He no longer believes the pairing of their names has anything noir about it, but Maloney fits Maloney perfectly. The office isn’t missing anything, either. But all their financial documents were riffled through, and some bank statements from