By Kirsten Thorup

THE NOVEL INTRODUCES us to Harriet, a young Danish woman, as she travels on a crowded train to Munich in 1942. Harriet is a widow. Her husband, Gerhard, a pilot, has died fighting against communism on the German side. In her grief Harriet has abandoned her two young sons back in Denmark and is determined to do something, to contribute, and she seeks out Gerhard’s friend Klaus, and his Danish wife, Gudrun, in their villa in Munich. Klaus is a high-ranking officer in the Luftwaffe and belongs to the Nazi elite.

UNTIL MADNESS, UNTIL DEATH  is about a woman who wants to be loyal to her husband while being neutral about Nazism, but her stay in Munich reveals a world in which having it both ways is not possible.

First published by Gyldendal, Denmark 2020

Denmark, Gyldendal


The devil is in the detail, writes Kirsten Thorup in Until Madness, Until Death, and both the devil and the details are found in abundance in this seductive, disturbing and damn excellent novel about human imagination and human defense mechanisms, about fear and escape, about war and love.
– Berlingske, Denmark

Harriet is an uncommon, unforgettable, vivacious character, fundamentally cool, moving from immediate alertness to lofty reflection and back again … This novel is a blazingly excellent use of your time.
– Weekendavisen, Denmark

It is Nazism in its concentrated form that she encounters here, war at the most intimate level. The way Thorup’s cool style collides with such a detailed and accurate portrait of privileged life in Nazi Germany, with all its hidden monstrosities and callousness, is intoxicating to read.
– Politiken, Denmark

But it’s real strength is not that it gives us a stellar portrait of everyday life under Nazism. It’s that it portrays people whose lives will forever be shaped by the war, but who right now are in the middle of the story. It shows us people full of hope and a fighting spirit, which in retrospect seems utterly futile. Or people suffering from despair before their suffering has really begun. It shows us a person who has taken the completely and utterly wrong turn but can’t yet know it.
– Information, Denmark