New novel brings old Odense tragedies into play.

In her new novel Diskarma, author Cecilie Overbye has dug into the Odense history of the 60s. A visit to the local history archive and a trip past the scene where one of Odense's greatest tragedies took place tied the final ends of the novel's plot together.

“I had some special criteria that I was looking for when I was doing research for my novel Diskarma, and they led me to the Express train accident. I read a lot about the accident and about Odense in general during the same period, and of course I came across the case about Bassedrengen, and it just fit right into my plot," says Cecilie Overbye, who lives in North Zealand. So the trip went to Odense for research. It turned into several hours of exciting reading in old newspapers at the local history archive. Cecilie bought the Odensebogen from 2017 to take home to read about the accident. One of the pictures in the book was so exciting that she used it for a scene in the novel. Afterwards, Cecilie drove out to Seden Strand, which has also found a place in the novel. Here the main character's grandfather lives in one of the old summer houses. "I think you owe it to your readers to have been there themselves. Having gone for a walk on the beach, seen the high tide marks and felt the wind in my hair. Besides, you think so well in the open air," says Cecilie, who herself spends many hours in the open air, including on a mountain bike and as a winter bather. Before the research trip went back to Copenhagen, the author visited Ejby, precisely at the viaduct where the accident happened. "It gave a sick feeling to stand at the place where the trains crashed together. When you write, it is as if you are present yourself. You feel the anxiety, the panic and the pain.” On Guldstjernevej, she stopped and selected one of the houses as her protagonist's childhood home. "For me, it was important to know exactly what my childhood house looked like. Immediately I can better imagine robbers and Indians behind the hedge. And the loneliness behind the curtain in the protagonist Jan's room on the first floor."

A novel turns into At home in Hørsholm, the writing began. The plot was laid, the story and the background ready and now the imagination took over. “I had heard an amazing real-life story about guilt, and I just had to write it. In Diskarma I have worked with what the feeling of guilt does to a person. Although my story is fiction, I wanted to have as realistic a set-up as possible. That is why I have chosen to work from real events and let the fiction unfold from there.”

Cecilie Overbye's novel Diskarma is a portrait of the angry self-righteous man. About guilt, identity and the love that hides where you least expect it. It has been several years since Susanne left, but the dentist Jan still believes that one day they will find each other again. He just needs to change a little. Or get together. To endure the patients and life, he sniffs laughing gas while he dreams back to his uncomplicated childhood. One day the clinic assistant walks in the door while he is sitting with the laughing gas mask over his face and the limb in his hand, and Jan hits rock bottom. When his father dies, Jan is confronted with many unexpected consequences.

Cecilie Overbye, born 1973, is a dentist trained at the University of Copenhagen. Cecilie Overbye made her debut as an author with the biography Indefra in 2016. Here, she tells candidly about the malaria drug Lariam's horrible side effects, the complete mental breakdown and the struggle to both become a world champion and a whole person again. Survival in Nepal becomes the focal point in both Cecilie's life and writing. The novel Jens Petersen's extended spring was published in 2020.

Diskarma will be published by Odenseforlaget Brændpunkt on 28 April.

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