The Starveling

Cecil Bødker

Translated from the Danish by Michael Favala Goldman


ISBN 978-1-952419-18-8 pbk.          162 pages           $16.00

ISBN 978-1-952419-31-7 hdc.                                       $20.00



Eleven-year-old Larus is sent away from home to work for a greedy farmer. Every day Larus herds the farmer’s cows to the wild meadow outside of own, where he is all alone all day, until he has to usher them back in the evening. The family where he works is not particularly friendly, and Larus is lonely, until he meets an orphan girl, Tinka, who is living in the wild meadow by herself. She is a strange, shy girl, who speaks poorly and wears the filthiest clothes Larus has ever seen. When Larus learns why Tinka is the way she is, he brings her back with him to the farmer’s wife, who would like to keep her. But the farmer sees other possibilities for Tinka. And while Tinka may appear small and helpless, she soon shows all of them that she happens to be a strong, smart girl, who will not be pushed around.




Cecil Bødker’s novel, The Starveling, published in 1990, conveys a modern view of children as independent beings, while it draws from bygone days of rural life, shepherd boys, and small farmers. This story unmasks power, class, and preconceptions about motherhood. To speak of The Starveling as a modern literary classic is no exaggeration.

        Kamila Löfström, Literary critic