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Customer Review

on 26 November 2012
Spurred on by the enthusiastic reviews above (which, now I look at them, arrived suspiciously close to the publication date), I was looking forward to this book.

Unfortunately, it turns out that the writer only spent a couple of weeks in Denmark, appears to have read a couple of books on the country (which he quotes from at great length) and covers familiar ground - Danish chairs, the recent TV dramas - in a standard Guardian feature style. Thus the book is full of mistakes - the Danes do not have the lowest gap between rich and poor in the world (that's Sweden); there is no official minimum wage in Denmark (let alone an 'average minimum wage', whatever that might be); the Danish word 'ikke' is not pronounced 'air' (!); Østerbro as Denmark's Notting Hill is a very unlikely comparison; as well as glaring omissions: he writes about Noma but doesn't eat there or interview the head chef; there's a chapter on The Killing, but he doesn't meet its star; he leans heavily on Knud Jespersen's history of Denmark, but is turned down by its author for an interview; there is a whole chapter on architecture, but the major Danish architect of the moment declines an interview.

Perhaps worst of all, in his haste to jump on the Danish cultural bandwagon, the author skirts over all the many problems Denmark faces today in terms of the economy, immigration and the environment (yes they have windmills, but what about all the coal they use?). Bascially, then, an extended, one-dimensonal Guardian eulogy which rehashes all the other newspaper features of the last year. A shame, really.
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