Winner of the Statens Kunstfond Prize (Denmark)
Shortlisted for the Munch-Christensen’s Kulturlegat (Debut Prize, Denmark)
Shortlisted for the Montana Literature Prize (Denmark)
Shortlisted for Natt & Dag’s Literature of the Year Prize (Norway)
The year is 1957, and the artist couple Unica and Hans have retreated from life in Paris and Berlin to an old house in the French village Ermenonville. One day Hans receives a letter from an art dealer who wants to buy a new work. Together, Hans and Unica set about making the work: a doll the size of an adult person. By the time the doll is finished, Unica will be transformed.
While Unica threads her needle, sewing the doll’s coat, her life up until then appears to the reader in fragments: a shattered bourgois existence in the ruins of Berlin after the war, her struggle to remake herself as an artist and a writer, and her love story with Hans.
I, Unica is a literary fantasy, a novel inspired by historical events and the legendary story of the German writer and artist Unica Zürn (1916-1970) and her partner, the artist Hans Bellmer (1902-1975). It is the story of love and shimmering loneliness, and of a woman who wants to disappear and to come to life.