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Hans Kirk

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Hans Kirk

Hans Kirk (1898–1962) was a celebrated Danish author, who penned the best-selling novel of all-time in his native Denmark, The Fishermen (1928). Kirk was a long-time Communist Party member in Denmark and remained active until his death. His novels, which in addition to The Fishermen include The Day Laborers and The New Times, reflect Kirk's Marxist-influenced beliefs.

Kirk's style is noted for subtle punctuation expressions. Perhaps the most striking is the absence of quotation marks, a practice that obscures the presence of narrator/author. Long dashes are used to mark a change of time and the organization of his novels do not use chapter headings, just blank spaces between paragraphs.

Although Hans Kirk was a prolific author - in his lifetime Kirk produced eight novels, as well as short stories, essays, and radio plays - he remains relatively unknown in the United States. With the recent translations of The Fishermen, The Day Laborers, The New Times, and The Slave by University of Iowa professor Marc Linder, Kirk's novels are now available for the first time in English.

The Day Laborers and The New Times

The Day Laborers and The New Times chronicle the industrialization of an agrarian society in early 20th century Denmark. Unlike the characters in The Fishermen, the majority of the characters are not particularly religious. The novels were initially conceived of as being part of a trilogy, but Kirk's writing was interrupted by the Nazi occupation of Denmark in 1940. He was interned by the Gestapo as an enemy of Nazi Germany in 1941. He completed the manuscript for the third novel while interned, but it was discovered by the Nazis and

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