Submarino Submarino

Two brothers have been driven apart by a childhood trauma, and by the destructive habits they use to escape it. One is a violent offender, the other an addict, neither of them speak to the other. Elegantly and with a subtle rage, Submarino depicts society’s outcasts, with emphasis on the aspirations and the compassion that make them no different from us. The social realism of Hubert Selby Jr. and the smooth edginess of Chuck Palahniuk reverberate in Jonas T. Bengtsson’s emotional and gritty portrayal of two young men gasping for air in the murky backwaters of humanity and society in contemporary Copenhagen.

Submarino was adapted to a feature film directed by Thomas Vinterberg (The Celebration).


  • “Bengtsson knows his stuff and is an expert at artistic effects. /…/ Read it, shudder and experience strong feelings. This is a warning!”

    Information, Denmark

  • “Brilliant and unbearable at the same time.”

    Kristeligt Dagblad, Denmark

  • “Bengtsson is no bed of roses, but he is hard to resist – mostly because you don’t want to resist him.”


    Jydske Vestkysten, Denmark

  • “Jonas T. Bengtsson brutally and spellbindingly tells about the backside of Copenhagen with its drugs and violence. A hard-hitting novel about life in the gutter.”


    Costume, Denmark

  • “First came [Bengtsson’s] breakthrough and now he has fought his way to the top – with his bare fists. /…/ Here is an extraordinary new voice in contemporary Danish literature. A Copenhagen-based author who depicts the brutal badlands of the city in a way that makes you sit back with an equal amount of fear and compassion. Submarino basically ends up like a needle in the artery of the reader, and may very well be this season’s blockbuster.”

    Weekendavisen, Denmark

  • “A sensation of a second novel! A book that is not suited for bedtime reading, as you will get no peace at all until the last page is turned.”


    Femina, Denmark

  • “You’ll have to search long and hard for a more intense reading experience.”


    Downtown, Denmark

  • “[Submarino is] a real tear jerker /…/ I apologize if this review seems soft and susceptible to the age-old tricks of storytelling – sympathetic insight into the characters and their dramatic falls to rock bottom but the outcasts in Submarino not only get on your nerves – they get into your bloodstream.”

    Politiken, Denmark

  • “A grim account of the Danish underworld – a place from which you cannot rise.”


    Jyllands-Posten, Denmark

  • “Infamously brilliant /…/ Bengtsson, who was selected as the debutant writer of the year in 2005 with his novel Amina’s Letters, presents a tough little masterpiece with Submarino. /…/ It doesn’t get much better – or worse.”


    Fyens Stiftstidende, Denmark

  • “Copenhagen social realism with a vengeance. /…/ Submarino grips your innermost heart and holds on tightly. Jonas T. Bengtsson gets five stars because he writes so well that it hurts.”


    Ekstra Bladet, Denmark

  • Submarino is so gruesome and powerful that it hurts while you are reading and really hurts when you are not reading. It is by far the best novel I have read this year.”


    Euroman, Denmark

  • “This sensational crime novel is not for the weak-hearted.”

    Metro, France

  • Submarino is a social Fight Club. /…/ In this novel, Bengtsson deprives his characters of any hope. /…/ Submarino is a very suspenseful novel. it tells the descent into hell by two brothers in the Copenhagen underworld. The Danish Jonas T. Bengtsson has written one of the darkest novels of the year. /…/ Submarino is a bitter tragedy, a dry cleaning of the human nature, written in a sharp and direct style. Brilliant.”

    Les Inrockuptibles, France

  • “Jonas T. Bengtsson’s talent is undeniable, his verve indisputable… Submarino has a mesmerizing rhythm: it is impossible for the reader not to feel the same vertigo that the characters feel… Submarino is one of the most impressive Danish novels of the last few years. Social realism, pure poetic art and sensuality: this novel contains all the typical ingredients already present in contemporary Danish literature, but with a unique strength. This is Jonas T. Bengtsson’s winning recipe.”

    Le Monde des livres, France

  • “The style is simple, with short and sharp meanings, but never banal nor vulgar… A well-written and captivating novel.”

    La Croix, France

Photo: Robin Skjoldborg Jonas T. Bengtsson
  • Literary
Reading material

Danish edition

German edition

French edition

English sample

Rights sold

Denmark, People’s

Finland, Like

France, Denoël

Germany, Klett-Cotta (hardcover)

Germany, Heyne (paperback)

Italy, Marsilio

Japan, AC Create

Norway, Gyldendal

Poland, Czarne

Russia, Azbooka

Sweden, Sadura

Turkey, Pegasus

Film rights sold

Denmark, Nimbus

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