Gummi Tarzan (Ole Lund Kirkegaard) pdf, epub, doc

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Chances are—given that this is the first book that I have read in Danish—that I would be quite partial to it no matter what. But Gummi Tarzan is a really delightful book. Tragically hilarious in the way that only books about miserable childhoods can be, it's the story of poor, skinny, clumsy, uncool Ivan Olsen (aka 'Rubber Tarzan') and the one, wonderful day that—with the help of a benevolent witch—he's able to do all the things he's never been able to do. On that one perfect day, he's able to read the biggest book in the library (The Collected Cookbook of [the poet] Adam Oehenshlager), able to spit further than all of the boys in his class, able to lock his malevolent gym teacher in the bathroom, stand up to his arrogant, unsympathetic Man's Man of a dad, ride a bike, and score the winning goal in a professional soccer match. Of course, and as soon as Ivan Olsen wakes up the next day, it's all back to normal...

This book is apparently something of a classic in Denmark—it's been made into an audio book, a TV cartoon, and the phrase 'Gummi Tarzan' became an oft-used colloquialism. the author, Ole Lund Kirkegaard, wrote a number of other popular books for children (although, really—his humor is perhaps even more funny to adults), all of which have the same fantastic illustrations and apparently share the same sort of cynical, ironic humor. Another reason this was such a great first book for me to have read in Danish is that it's written with a number of colloquialisms and regional phrases that you wouldn't normally find in dictionaries (so I'm told).

Amusingly enough, Gummi Tarzan is also a brilliant introduction to the wonderful range of swearing in Danish. Where in English, curse words are very black and white—either offensive or not offensive—there seems to be a whole grey-scale of acceptable utterances in Danish.

What a fantastic (and funny) language.

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Book info

  • Author:
  • Publisher:Verlag Friedrich Oetinger
  • File: 2.1 Mb
  • Ganre: European Literature
  • ISBN: 9783789118241
  • Pages 119
  • Rating: 4.37 (753 votes)

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