Winter/Spring 2024 Fiction Preview: Blue Notes by Anne Cathrine Bomann, translated by Caroline Waight | Book*hug Press

Winter/Spring 2024 Fiction Preview: Blue Notes by Anne Cathrine Bomann, translated by Caroline Waight

We’re back with our second Winter/Spring 2024 Fiction Preview, featuring Anne Cathrine Bomann’s Blue Notes, translated by Caroline Waight!

How much grief is too much? How far should we go to avoid pain? From the author of the international bestselling novel Agatha comes a literary medical thriller about loss, empathy, science, Big Pharma, and societal norms.

A Danish university research group is finishing its study of a new medicine, Callocain: the world’s first pill for grief. But psychology professor Thorsten Gjeldsted suspects that someone has manipulated the test results to hide a disturbing side effect. When no one believes him, he teams up with two young students to investigate: Anna, who has recently experienced traumatic grief herself, and Shadi, whose statistical skills might prevent her from living a quiet life in the shadows. Together, these sleuthing academics try to discover what’s really happening before the drug becomes widely available.

Blue Notes is brimming with ethical and existential ideas about the search for identity and one’s place in the world, while offering a highly original literary adventure that ultimately underscores the healing power of love.

“Part suspense novel, part character study, Blue Notes takes us into the world of Big Pharma, greed, and the pathologization of emotion. But at its heart, it is a touching meditation on love and loss and what it means to be truly human.” —Elyse Friedman, author of The Opportunist

Anne Cathrine Bomann has shared a video introduction to Blue Notes in anticipation of the book’s release!

Additionally, we’d like to share an excerpt from the novel! Blue Notes will be released on February 22, 2024, and is available for pre-order from our online shop or from your local independent bookstore.

He holds out the biscuit tin. “Today is the last time we’re going to meet. So for once there are no questionnaires to fill out. We’re just going to have a little chat, and I’m sure we’ll wrap the whole thing up nicely.” 

She nods. The vanilla biscuit is a foreign body in her hand. She sits crumpled on the sofa, and Thorsten can’t help comparing her with his own mother, who is around the same age but radiates an entirely different aura of vitality. 

“I’d like to tell you again how happy we are that you wanted to be part of our project,” he says. “It will make a tremendous difference for a lot of people. We’re busy analyzing the tests you and the other participants have completed, and it won’t be long before we get a general grasp of things.” 

“And then you’ll figure out if the pills work?” 

Birgit’s eyes are red along the lower lid, as though they’re turning wrong-side out. She looks ill, thinks Thorsten, but then again, she’s looked ill for as long as he’s known her.

“Yes,” he says, “and how, crucially. We’re especially interested in what occurs in the brain when people take the pills, and how they affect the way you grieve.”


Anne Cathrine Bomann lives in Copenhagen dividing her time between writing and working as a psychologist. She also played table tennis for Denmark and won the national championship twelve times. She is also the author of two poetry collections and the debut novel, Agatha, which became a word-of-mouth success following publication in Denmark and has now been translated into twenty-three languages.

Caroline Waight is an award-winning literary translator working from Danish, German, and Norwegian. She has translated a wide range of fiction and non-fiction, with recent publications including The Lobster’s Shell by Caroline Albertine Minor (Granta, 2022), Agatha by Anne Cathrine Bomann (Book*hug Press, 2021), Island by Siri Ranva Hjelm Jacobsen (Pushkin Press, 2021) and The Chief Witness by Sayragul Sauytbay and Alexandra Cavelius (Scribe, 2021). She grew up travelling around the world, living in eight different countries. Having first studied music at Cambridge, Oxford, and Cornell, she worked in publishing before transitioning into full-time literary translation. She now lives and works near London.

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