For five queer 20-somethings living in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, figuring out how to be fully functioning adults is complicated by homophobia, self-doubt, and economic instability.
Fia, just coming out, has fallen head over heels for Sara. Having recently left Peter, her boyfriend of three years, she's crashing at the apartment of an acquaintance named Arnaq. For her part, Arnaq is a mess—an abused alcoholic who is unable to hold a job. Arnaq seeks solace anywhere she can find it, flitting from bar to party and hooking up with anyone who will have her. At present, Inuk, Fia’s younger brother, is estranged from Arnaq, though they were once best friends, because she outed him against his wishes. This so mortified Inuk that he’s fled to Denmark, where he’s in hiding from both himself and the world—fearful that he’ll be ostracized and derided once the name of his sexual partner becomes known. He communicates with Fia via email and text message—these missives are woven into this unconventionally written narrative—to reveal profound self-hate, desperation, and shame. It’s heartbreaking. Meanwhile, Fia is so besotted that her concern for her brother is tempered by happily-ever-after fantasies about Sara. Sara, however, is living with her girlfriend, Ivik, and while the pair are having difficulties, it’s unclear if they’ll stay together or break up. Sound like a soap opera? It is. But it is also more than this. Tender, evocative, and pithy, this debut novel creates a vivid picture of people struggling for authenticity and voice. At the same time, loose ends prevail, perhaps a reflection of the characters' own lack of resolution but frustrating nonetheless since it’s impossible to predict whether they’ll succumb to despair or find fulfillment.
A powerfully drawn but ultimately disappointing look at the ongoing obstacles facing LGBTQ youth as they come of age.