cover image Rock, Paper, Scissors

Rock, Paper, Scissors

Naja Marie Aidt, trans. from the Danish by K.E. Semmel. Open Letter (, $16.95 trade paper (450p) ISBN 978-1-940953-16-8

After his estranged father’s death, Thomas must cope with the lingering secrets and mysterious circumstances surrounding his imprisonment and passing. In this fascinating and erudite exploration of family life, Aidt (Baboon) manages to capture a slice of life, told mostly from diligent-but-dreaming Thomas’s point of view. In the days after his former-mobster father turns up dead, Thomas discovers something strange inside his father’s toaster. While Thomas is busy running his stationery shop with his partner, Maloney, his family debates the state of contemporary literature at dinner parties, memorizes poetry, and generally meditates on the melancholy nature of the human condition. During a lengthy, reflective excursion to his aunt’s house, Thomas concocts a scheme to help out his wayward niece and expand his business at the same time. And what Thomas discovers inside the toaster turns out to be less important than the potential he finds within himself for repeating his father’s legacy. Laced with sex, marital problems, family drama, and money woes, Aidt’s supremely cultivated novel is concerned with the struggle to connect with those we truly love and the consequences of remaining distant. Aidt writes with verve, passion, and a sharp edge, animating a smart set of characters who must fight for truth and happiness. (Aug.)