Knud Sørensen’s “Just One Load of Gravel”

I love this story, “Just One Load of Gravel,” originally written by Danish writer Knud Sørensen and translated into English by Michael Goldman.

“And while he was driving along, lost in his own thoughts, in his just a few-weeks-old Morris Oxford, he didn’t just hear a bump, he felt it too, when it was transmitted down from the seat, up through his spine to his brain, telling him that underneath him, underneath his car, there was something that was not supposed to be there.” (Read the whole story by clicking the link in the above title.)

I’ve had the pleasure of reading some of Sørensen’s poetry, which Michael Goldman also translated, but this is the first short story I’ve read from the pair, published in the Spring 2016 Issue of The Apple Valley Review.  There’s a Chekhovian sensibility at work in this story, where very little happens.  Yet, in such a short piece, a whole world is revealed in beautiful detail.  A quiet but beautiful world, it seems to me.

If you like this story or are just interested in translated literature, check out Hammer and Horn Productions, which Goldman founded.  Goldman says this about translating: “Repeatedly I have had the experience, when reading a piece of exquisite Danish literature, that the page suddenly turns into a mirror, and there I sit staring into myself, noticing parts of my inner life that I had forgotten or had never noticed before.”


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