The Land of Short Sentences


Where small talk is a big deal

A young woman relocates to an outlying community in West Jutland, Denmark, and is forced to find her way, not only in the bewildering environment of the residential Folk High School where her partner has been hired to teach, but also in the inscrutable conversational forms of the local population. And on top of it all, there’s the small matter of juggling her roles as mother to a newborn baby and advice columnist in the local newspaper. In this understated and hilarious novel, Stine Pilgaard conjures a tale of venturing into new and uncharted land, of human relationships, dilemmas, and the ways and byways of social intercourse.

Download cover

Categories: ,





Paperback ISBN


Ebook ISBN


Publication date

March 1, 2022




Stine Pilgaard

Stine Pilgaard is a graduate of the Danish Writers’ Academy and the University of Copenhagen. Her first novel … Read more

Book Club Questions

  1. Did you enjoy The Land of Short Sentences?
  2. How did the book make you feel? Was there hope? Dread? Happiness? Sadness?
  3. Did you find it funny? What were the funniest parts?
  4. How did the humor intersect with the sense of isolation reflected in the book? Did they always appear in tandem?
  5. What did you make of the songs?
  6. Did you notice anything about punctuation (or the lack thereof)? How did it affect your reading experience?
  7. Who did you relate to most, and why?
  8. Are there any differences between the unnamed and the named characters?
  9. Between the Letterbox correspondence and the driving school scenes, which did you find most revealing of the narrator’s character?
  10. Are the narrator and her boyfriend good parents?
  11. Are they very different from other parents in the novel?
  12. Was there a political side to the story? If so, where did you see it?
  13. What did you make of a real person, Anders Agger, showing up fairly prominently in this work of fiction?
  14. What did the location do for you? How did you imagine the backdrop to the story?
  15. Are you curious to read more by Stine Pilgaard? What does The Land of Short Sentences make you expect from her other work?

Author Video

Book Trailer

Original Music


Praise for Stine Pilgaard

“Pilgaard has the formidable ability to give a new twist to language and fixed expressions.”

“Pilgaard has a great sense for the ironic twist hiding in any situation.”
Dagbladet Information

Praise for The Land of Short Sentences

“Small communities love their inside jokes, which become all the more (and paradoxically) hilarious if an outsider takes them seriously. Pilgaard’s smart, layered parody will make you laugh without knowing exactly why, and then will keep you laughing at your self-consciousness.”
VERONICA RAIMO, author of The Girl at the Door

“A master of irony lays down her weapons. A deliciously crumbly novel oozing with awkward love.” Weekendavisen

“A sheer delight: Stine Pilgaard has penned a perfect comedy about normalcy.”
Dagbladet Information

“The book of the year. An absolutely fabulous novel about adjusting to midlife in the back of beyond.”

“Stine Pilgaard has a pronounced talent for parody. She can write in such a way as to make you laugh out loud, bringing our embarrassments out into the open, capturing the absurdities of everyday life. Her dialogues are natural and precise, her language clear and succinct, and her references plain and recognizable. But beneath the lightness of her prose hides something beyond comedy and rhetoric.”

“Another Pilgaard pearl. Too funny for words and at the same time so keenly intelligent in its depictions. You love her characters to bits and understand their faltering steps on the road to community so well. A book you’ll cherish reading—again and again and …”

“Stine Pilgaard’s crisp prose and supreme timing can be spotted fifty books away. It’s an exquisite pearl of a book, wonderfully funny, playful, and subtle in its crafting. But don’t be mistaken: beneath the humor there’s a worldly-wise voice with a finely honed ability to put into words all that’s profound and beautiful and good about life. This is one of the best works of Danish literature I’ve read in ages.”

The Land of Short Sentences is a tragicomic genre hybrid including advice columns, højskole songs, and a thoroughly maladapted, infinitely charming narrator. The book’s disasters are small, and it is a situational comedy that gives us a break from world events. But it is not cozily escapist or trivial; it is a consolation, a reminder of something common, comical, and troublesome that persists while dramatic global events take place: the fact that people need people, no matter how awkward it can be. Dear Stine Pilgaard. I would like to say congratulations on the award, but also: thank you for the book. Because it made it a little easier to live, without lying about it being easy. Because it lingered with irresistible joy on all the little inconveniences that make up the social landscape. Because it made it much easier to be a weirdo who ventures across the boundaries of others with the best of intentions.”
LINEA MAJA ERNST, Weekendavisen

“Sharp, observant, entertaining, and empathetic. The novel’s greatness is that it does not rely on tricks or shortcuts, but only warmhearted storytelling and an incredible ability to capture a scene.”
Modernista, Swedish publisher

“Stine Pilgaard writes tenderly and wittily about the agonies of learning to drive and being a parent, of living on an island and among other people, in an imperfect present and a self-created future. It’s the perfect read for our time.”
Kanon Verlag, German publisher

The Land of Short Sentences is funny, tender, surprising. It is a novel that makes you laugh out loud and then touches you deeply in the next moment. There are beautiful observations about how people live their lives, observations about parenthood, community, relationships. Just like its main character, the Letterbox (!), the novel is quirky, funny, a bit crazy, but so very loveable!”
WSOY, Finnish publisher

Praise for Lejlighedssange (“Songs for Special Occasions”)

“Read this book if you want an experimental and challenging read full of exquisite prose and humor.”

“Contains a colorful gallery of characters.”

“Although it is a captivatingly easy read and unpretentious, there is plenty of artistic design, compositional creativity, and literary reference at play. It all fits together seamlessly, as the form and content of this novel form a beautiful whole.”
Dagbladet Information

Praise for Min mor siger (“My Mom Says”)

“Stine Pilgaard’s debut novel is an original, humorous, and slightly absurd universe of misunderstandings. The narrator’s affection for the characters turns the humor into loving comedy.”