A minor argument between the main character Bente and her recently divorced lover, the lawyer Jørgen, develops late one night:
Ruptures, p. 106-107You are tired.
The hell I am. Well yes actually I am. And what’s so strange about that?
Nothing. Jørgen. Can I ask you something? I need to know how my divorce is coming along.
Obviously it’s not the right time. But it’s been a while since it was. I need to know before Soriba leaves, so that I don’t have to wait years for a divorce in absentia. I want it over with. Now.
What, your div…oh, I haven’t gotten around to looking at that.Then he explodes:And it’s all because of that business with your fool of a friend! Her rotten house sale! She doesn’t understand a single thing you tell her, that retarded –he’s looking for the right expression, his face twisted in annoyance, bad conscience and the thought of all the stuff he should have been doing rather than arranging the going-away party for his son.
That stupid little fool! She doesn’t even understand normal Danish or anything. And her brother is the same, he’s no better.
A jolt flies through me. Normally he would never talk like that – never – about clients. Hanne, who I referred to him, is slightly disabled, and I explained that to him one night. He nodded sympathetically:Just send her my way, we’ll figure it out.And now he throws it in my face as some kind of personal accusation: I surround myself with fools and retarded women and children.
What are you saying?I am holding on to the frame of the door.
Yes that’s what I’m saying. Never met such a moron –he disappears to the toilet. Shortly after he rushes back out and looks at me. Wants to say something, turns around, comes back. I go into the guest room and shut the door without a word. He stomps around indecisively for a few moments, and then the bedroom door slams with a bang.
The limit has been transgressed, we can no longer pretend like it’s nothing. The trust and reciprocal sense of solidarity we’ve had has been pushed into the background for so long that he has forgotten about it.
I am freezing with agitation, pacing up and down the floor. If I act like nothing, after this we will drift further and further out. […] I sit down on the bed and begin to cry. We have shown each other so much tenderness, care and warmth. If we want to save any of that we need to stop before it’s stomped to death.
And I’m the one who has to stop. As always when it’s to do with the mechanisms of our relation, I am the one who has to react. It’s not that I think he doesn’t care, but he is capable of going to sleep after a scene like this. I am not.
I am shaking all over, have an upset stomach and have to go the toilet; I sit there staring at that damned pink nightgown his wife has left behind. I feel like tearing it into a thousand pieces.
Something is rustling in a corner of the room; it is rummaging and moving around: It is my old freedom. It’s dusty and smells like mothballs, but I recognize it from the time before Jørgen, way back to the long, heart rendering evenings in my room, at fourteen, I would be dancing, singing and painting. It stretches and shakes itself, because it is has been hidden away for so long.
… Grief is ready to attack. I wish I had died along with the child.Ruptures, p. 258
In a way I am dead. I have dealt with so much stuff; I’ll never really be the same again.
My friends’ stories go through my head, and while I ever so slowly gain the courage to face my empty uterus, a long series of connections appear. Veil after veil is torn off my subconscious making way for a thought I have never before completed, a truth I have never wanted to explore: I suddenly know, that all of it, far most of it was a lie.
It was not some maternal instinct that gave me the burning wish to become a mother. It was a yearning hardly distinguishable from my longing to look like Audrey Hepburn when I was fourteen. I don’t believe in biology. I don’t think that women are born with a maternal instinct and men with an instinct for hunting.
… Through incalculable mechanisms I return to myself through a sun-filter of the highlights of my relationship with Jørgen. After having borrowed his thoughts, his words and opinions, I return to my own world.Ruptures, p. 294
Return but no longer the same as when we met. I don’t want to carry out the same old parts anymore. […]
I feel like I have been sleeping for so long. I have roamed endless dead ends. I got lost in the fairy-tale forests of my childhood in the hope that friendly branches would funnel me into the arms of HAPPINESS.
I feel like I have never experienced anything even half as much me or half as meaningful as now. I wonder why no grownups in my childhood ever looked at me with eyes reflecting the knowledge I have now obtained.
I had visions of another life. Something reaching beyond family life and leading beyond those games married couples play against each other.
… Now that I have found my own reality something new is happening: now I turn to my seat-mate and notice that she is reading about Dorotea. I will be walking in the street now and I see a woman laughing and disentangling herself from the arms of a man… Now I look into the eyes of other women – and I really see them, listen to the words I once was saying myself, thoughts I had at a time when I believed I was all alone, opinions I formed on the way. I am not the only one who has sweated the anxiety out of my body, there are many others.Ruptures, p. 295
Everywhere women are opening the windows and shouting:We were not warned either! We too have had to drag ourselves through the hinterlands of love, the acid bath of myths, the stalactite caves of lies where the truth transforms the pillars into dust one by one.…
Ruptures was published in Denmark in 11 editions after which it came out in paperback. Domestically it sold 18,500 copies, in Sweden 42,809. Altogether the book sold 71,500 copies in the Nordic countries. The novel was translated into Norwegian, Swedish, Icelandic and Finnish.
Bettina Heltberg in Politiken May 4 1977 under the headline
Ruptures that heal:
Bente Clod knows how to write, she has proved so many times – not least with her feature articles in the newspaper Politiken that you always remember afterwards. There was the one about the boringAuthorized Danish Version of intercourse, that got her the second prize in the Politiken feature article competition in the Women’s Year, and there was the (even better in my opinion) feature last summer about the joy of quenching one’s thirst – simply titledWater, it was slaking, witty and wonderful […] The vivid style, the spontaneous and bold observations have also found their way into Bente Clod’s first novel, Ruptures […]
Kurt Mathisen in Ekstra Bladet:
During the newspaper strike Bente Clod expressed the opinion in Information that men are incapable of reviewing women’s literature – it would be like a vegetarian trying to review a French cook-book. I couldn’t say if this was an attempt to prevent men from getting their hands on her own novel Ruptures but now I have read it anyway. And whether Bente Clod likes it or not, I am going to allow myself to be of the opinion that it is one of the most important books to be published for a long time. For better or worse.
Åsa Moberg in Aftonbladet, May 1977 (Swedish writer, Swedish newspaper):
I didn’t think I could read Danish until I had a go with Ruptures by Bente Clod … I can’t imagine a single woman who wouldn’t want to read this book.
When the book was published in Swedish with the title Uppbrott, Annika Berg wrote in Dagens Nyheters (Swedish reviewer, Swedish paper):
[…] Uppbrott is a warm, humorous and affirming book. Bente’s story is not unique, but the universal conditions are mediated in a way that is neither banal nor trivial. Bente Clod is a very honest author, she doesn’t idealize anything in her depiction of herself as a woman and a human being, doesn’t recoil from accounting for negative discoveries in her experiences with the way other women live and think.
Märta Tikkanen wrote in Afton-bladet (Swedish writer, Swedish paper):
[…] not least that is the reason I care so much for Ruptures: because it believes in humans. It believes that we can work together and love together without turning our back to the world.