Time is running out for Alma. Each night she winds the grandfather clock, which has followed her through decades of sorrows and joys, convinced that doing so will let her see another day.
Yet she knows that there aren’t many days left.
An unexpected encounter with a little boy breathes new life into the old woman, stirring memories of her husband Otto and what happened to him.
Only Alma knows the truth, but she doesn’t always remember it.
Released in Denmark by Lindhardt and Ringhof in June 2021.
“A beautiful, poignant novel about two people who once loved each other, but lost each other over time. By exposing a tragic life in phases – because of Alma’s struggling memories – Ane Riel manages to strike a sensitive chord, albeit in a light-hearted and at times humorous tone.”
De Telegraaf (NL)
“CLOCKWORK is the latest masterpiece by Riel. She needs so very little to keep you captivated as a reader…. Playing with the reader’s curiosity, Riel gives you just enough to keep you hooked, but certainly no too much. Just like with RESIN, the finale leaves you filled with wonder. The queen of small settings strikes again with CLOCKWORK”
“Riel masters the literary wheel like a Swiss watchmaker…CLOCKWORK is a deeply moving novel about an unlikely friendship that transcends generations and time.”
Knack Magazine (BE)
“CLOCKWORK is a literary narrative. A fairy tale for adults about life and death… An exciting novel; you want to know what happened… But what makes this novel especially worthwhile is Riel’s beautiful, compelling storytelling style.”
NRC Handelsblad (NL)
When the time is right
A novel about difficult love and life on borrowed time
CLOCKWORK is a loving portrayal of someone trying to find a peaceful end to a long life.
In a village somewhere in Denmark, Alma lives alone in a small house at the end of a cul-de-sac, spending most of her days looking out of the window at nothing in particular.
Alma’s memory isn’t as good as it once was and sometimes shes’s confused. But she remembers her husband Otto, a watchmaker she loved dearly. She also remembers that their relationship hadn’t been entirely easy, especially towards the end.
He changed. Then Alma did what she had to do.
There is a lot Alma must try to come to terms with before her life is over. Regrets are queuing up and certain things are harder to forgive. It doesn’t help that she is frightened by the strangers knocking on her front door. Even time itself plays tricks on her.
When a young boy shows up, Alma’s world is turned upside down and soon the cold of winter gives way to the light and warmth of spring … Life’s not quite over yet.
CLOCKWORK brings to mind Ane Riel’s award-winning international breakthrough RESIN, sold to 31 territories, for its compassionate portrayal of deeply felt characters, its quirky wit, original twists, and a creeping sense of mystery that takes the reader by surprise.
Since CLOCKWORK came out in Denmark in 2021 it’s been released in Finland (se cover), the Netherlands and, just recently, France. It is also to be released in Sweden and Germany.
”Less brutal but just as impactful as her first novel translated into French (Résine), this delightfully dark and ambiguous novel – which at times recalls the atmosphere of the film ‘Sixth Sense’ by Night Shyamalan – recounts with finesse the revenge of a woman in her twilight years.” – Le Figaro
”’Les fantômes ne pleurent pas’ is the story of a woman’s emancipation, a tragic liberation. Once more [Ane Riel has written] a novel that embodies the form of a tale, just as unforgettable as her last. Riel is an incredible talent.” – Télérama
Scroll down for a presentation of the French edition.
Les fantômes ne pleurent pas
Éditions du Seuil (May 12, 2023)
Alma vit seule. Elle se débrouille malgré sa mémoire vacillante et son grand âge. Les jours s’écoulent, identiques et lents. Jusqu’à ce qu’une amitié inattendue avec un petit garçon et son chien donne un nouveau souffle à son existence. Des images lui reviennent : une soirée dansante avec son mari, l’accident qui rendit ce dernier irascible, le mauvais tour qu’elle lui joua au point de le faire sortir de ses gonds. Leur ultime, terrible, altercation.
Avec une subtilité rare, Ane Riel raconte la revanche d’une femme écrasée sa vie entière par celui qu’elle ne cessa pourtant jamais d’aimer. Dans ce roman profondément touchant, humain et émaillé d’humour noir, elle allie merveilleusement l’ombre à la lumière.
Traduit du danois par Terje Sinding
– Tranches de livres
FOREIGN RIGHTS sold to: France (Éditions du Seuil), Germany (btb Verlag), The Netherlands (Prometheus), Sweden (Modernista), Finland (Aula & co).
For foreign rights queries, please contact Sophia Hersi Smith: sophia(at)cphla.dk at Copenhagen Literary Agency.
For domestic and dramatization rights, please contact Lars Ringhof: lars(at)ringhof.dk at Lars Ringhof Agency.
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