…a wildly inventive novel, simultaneously tender, raunchy,
intelligent and uproariously funny…

Cape Cod Voice (“Our Favorite Fiction 2002”)

Kerrigan’s Copenhagen, A Love Story:
Book I of The Copenhagen Quartet


Kerrigan’s Copenhagen, A Love Story:
Critical Acclaim

The Danish capital co-stars in this witty, erudite, Joycean-style tale of an American writer attempting to come to terms with his past through the help of Copenhagen’s many bars. Each chapter is devoted to a different watering hole, with the loveable if frustrating hero encountering a host of characters and musing on topics like city life, beer, books, jazz, sex, cigars and architecture, among other things.

The Rough Guide to Denmark, “Books: Literature post-World War II”

(KENNEDY’S NOTE: I was glad to learn that my novel is mentioned so favorably in The Rough Guide to Denmark, and I’m grateful to the authors — Lone Mouritsen, Roger Norum, and Caroline Osbourne — for choosing to include it. The guide mistakenly shows that Kerrigan’s Copenhagen is out of print. However, readers should know that although the original publisher [Wynkin de Worde in Ireland] is now out of business, the novel can be expected to see print again in the near future. Meanwhile, some remainders are still available.)


Here is Copenhagen … conscious and sensual … a Cathedral of the night with fantastic chapels of cafés and restaurants … and women … a loving hymn to Copenhagen … everything is more beautiful written in English ink from an Irish-American fountain pen.

—Boa Tao Michaëlis, Politiken


… a can-opener to Danish cultural life … the more Kerrigan learns about Copenhagen the happier he gets …

—Danish Television DR 2 “Bestseller”


… a declaration of love to Copenhagen …

—Danish Television “Lorry”


This must be the first time that The King’s Copenhagen to this extent has been both scene and stuff for such a comprehensive novel …

—Niels Barfoed, Politiken


… a blockbuster … a declaration of love to jazz and Copenhagen … a classic love story …

—Frederiksberg Radio


… an exciting journey for the reader, a wonderful, delightful read … a remarkable achievement … an excellent companion for a visit to Copenhagen.

Books Ireland


… sumptuous and rich, sensuous and intelligent, witty and joyous, like Copenhagen itself, the living heart of this wonderful novel …

—Linda Lappin, The Literary Review


… Kennedy’s power to relate sight and sound on the page borders on the supernatural — becomes even more resonant amplified by the Copenhagen experiences of Ben Webster, Stan Getz, and Chet Baker …

Abiko (Tokyo)


Kerrigan’s Copenhagen, A Love Story:
Excerpts

From “Foreplay,” the novel’s opening pages:

Terrence Einhorn Kerrigan is in love.

When his wife and children, after all those years, were taken from him, he told himself he would never love a woman again, and he never did, not in that way, which requires a surrender of the sovereign spirit. But a man must love nonetheless, and thus a love affair begins this story — a love affair with a city.

Here he has made his home, in a city whose moods are unpredictable, unfathomable, unimpeachable as a woman’s, often still and dark, perfidious as its April weather — now light and sweet as the touch of a summer girl who fancies you, now cold as snow, false as ice, merciless as the howling beating wind, now quietly enigmatic as the stirring of the great chestnut trees which line the banks of the lake beneath his windows.

The city is Copenhagen, the city of the Danish smile and blue eye, the Danish national character that one of its great unknown sons, Tom Kristensen, described in his great unknown 1930 novel Hærværk, made into a great unknown 1977 film Havoc, as “false blue eyes and blond treachery.”

It is the city of Peter Boyesen who greets all happy boys from the wall of the city jail, and greets all happy girls when he is out. The city of a hundred vices and fifteen hundred serving houses, bars, cafés — more of them than one will ever come to know in a lifetime without a very major effort. Kerrigan has decided to make an effort. He came to Copenhagen, like Gilgamesh, driven by death to seek the land of eternal life, and like Gilgamesh, he kept meeting instead an Alewife who filled his glass and said,

Kerrigan Kerrigan
Wither rovest thou?
The life you seek you will not find.
When the gods created mankind
Death for mankind they set aside.
Thou, Kerrigan, let full be your belly.
Make you merry by day and night.
Of each day make thou a feast of rejoicing.
Day and night dance and play!
Let your garments be sparkling fresh,
your head be washed; bathe you in water!
Pay heed to the little one that holds to your hand.
Let your woman delight in your bosom.
For this is the task of mankind!

Kerrigan agrees, even if there are no little ones anymore, no woman. Gone. All, all gone. And that is how all stories end. Yet he knows no better city in which to follow the Alewife’s bidding.

He does not know precisely how many bars there are in Copenhagen. He has not yet decided how many of them he will visit over what time scale or how many of them he will include in his book. He has no idea what might happen in each of the places he visits, what adventures he might encounter, what dark nights of the soul he might descend to, what radiant bodies he might win with a flattering tongue.

And this is good, he decides.