To leave on read

Danish. In my eleventh entry for Weekendavisens lexicon, I discuss the peculiarly modern feeling—created by “read receipts” on messaging apps such as WhatsApp—of knowing that your words have been read, but not yet responded to. This state of communicative limbo gained a new intensity for me some two years ago, after I had written a meandering essay on the art of falling. My grandfather wrote to me to tell me how much he had enjoyed reading it, but the reply I sent him the morning after remained unseen: he had died in his sleep in the intervening hours. That my essay was one of the last things he read was particularly harrowing because the essays ends with a literary conflation of sleep and death.

“Læst” (“Read”), Weekendavisen (31 March 2023). Link.