Having spent the majority of his writing carer focusing on short stories and non-fiction pieces, Mikkel Rosengaard is finally making the jump from writer to novelist. His debut work, The Invention of Ana, is a uniquely stunning novel with a surreal dreamlike quality— reminiscent of a distant memory that only adds to the reader’s enjoyment of this work.
On a Brooklyn rooftop in spring, our narrator, freshly arrived from Copenhagen and working as an art intern who wants to be a writer, meets Ana Ivan. Ana is a mathematician and artist who is as intriguing and fierce as she is independent, but, as Ana confesses, she’s also bad luck— she comes from a cursed Romanian lineage. Soon the intern finds himself enthralled with each story Ana tells him about her countrymen, her parents’ romance and others from her homeland, each of whom was unlucky and ill-fated in love and life.
Ana introduces him to her latest project, which entails altering her own sense of time by following the astronomical calendar, instead of the Gregorian most are accustomed to. This project will ultimately lead her to live in complete and utter darkness for one month. While living in the darkness, our intern finds, it’s easy to lose sense of your own existence and become entangled with someone else’s, specifically Ana’s.
Looking into Ana’s past and peeling back the layers of time, the intern becomes immersed in the story of her parents— one a dreamer and the other a mathematician— and finds the truth in her stories, burdened with tragedy and misfortune while traveling from Romania to Morocco to Brooklyn.
The Invention of Ana is a compelling and beautiful story; a meditation on perception. Rosengaard’s carefully chosen words create a narrative that, like the subject of his book, is deliberate and mathematical, yet as surreal as a half-remembered dream. Poignant, introspective and mesmerizing is its curiosity, Rosengaard’s debut is on its way to becoming a new classic.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mikkel Rosengaard is a writer in New York City. He is a two-time recipient of the Danish Arts Foundation’s Literary Fellowship and a regulator contributor to Weekendavisen, the Scandinavian weekly. His non-fiction has appeared in The Architectural Review, PBS’s ART21, Hyperallergic, and other publications. He grew up in Elsinore, Denmark, and now lives in Brooklyn.