Robin Mientjes[ˈmiːn-chəs]

Notes on ‘Drammens rekordbok’

The first thing I ever discussed with Ingvild Schade was her book. We talked about it for a long time, too. It turns out there was a lot to discuss there. It’s a faceted piece of writing: it identifies variously as dark comedy, poetry, bizarre slice-of-life. An interesting novel, to say the least.

A lot of topics raced through my head, but I mostly zeroed in on the pompous nature of keeping records (the title means Record book of Drammen, Drammen being a famously ‘boring’ city in Norway). It’s pretty grotesque to take note of your ‘personal best’, particularly to make it public. It brought me on the path of Greek frieze design and the notion of carving your successes into marble.

Famously, those ancient marbles were once brightly coloured monuments. Erosion (and human intervention) have turned the statues white, but they were always intended to be cheery totems of celebration. I wanted to bring that back in a bombastic, corny, rude way.

I tried a few terrible terrible things before I came to the marbles. From that point on, it was a simple plan: find a classic representation of pride, naïvely paint over it, and put the name of the novel on top.

The dust jacket and hardcover are proudly typeset in my own typefaces, and the book has received great reviews from the Norwegian press. I’m also very proud to be a part of that.

Published on March 10, 2015