Jesper Wung-Sung (born 1971) is an almost improbably productive writer whose hyperactive pen has produced at least a dozen books (all of them critically acclaimed) since winning the Danish Debutant's Award at the Copenhagen Book Fair in 1998. Throughout his work runs one glorious theme: male existence, dissected in all its phases in a remarkable blend of realism and absurdist humour. From the ecstatically received 2009 collection of stories Trælår [Dead Leg](Danish review here>>) comes a story which in every thinkable way is typical Wung-Sung right down to its cryptic title. It'll be published in Absinthe #16 this autumn, and I've called it Close only counts when you're doing your damnedest. It starts like this:
They had buried Mort the Wart in the yard.
Of course, they had not actually buried Mort the Wart in the yard. Not all of Mort the Wart, for his head was sticking up out of the lawn. It had been necessary, though, to gag him. To put a stop to his yelling. The cries. The screams.
Extract © Jesper Wung-Sung
Translation © Martin Aitken