“Mirror’s Fathom” is the story of Tycho Wilhelm Lund—anarchist, pirate, and thief of a legendary mirror. Tycho is also a great-nephew of the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard and is, when the novel begins, a mild- mannered antiques dealer who is asked to assess the value of some furniture at the home of Regine Schlegel, Kierkegaard’s famously jilted former love.
Upon his arrival, Tycho—who has no interest in philosophy—finds himself at a meeting of the Kierkegaard Circle, a group faithfully reading aloud Kierkegaard’s works. There he meets, and falls for, Countess Juliana Sophie, herself a passionate follower of Kierkegaard’s thinking and self-appointed mistress of the “School for Selves.” Count Viggo, Juliana’s father, approves of their marriage, with one condition—Tycho must first lend him his expertise in antique hunting, and go to London to retrieve a family heirloom, a 6-foot-tall silver-framed mirror.
The novel moves back and forth between the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries. The action begins in Malta in 2009, where we find an anxious Maltese housewife, Rowena, desperately exercising in front of the count’s mirror. Mysteries emerge—how did the mirror get to Malta in the first place, and why is Tycho remembered there as the fearsome “Brigand Tycho?”
The fates of Tycho and Rowena are tangled in a curious way, and the novel follows their stories between the two centuries, each chapter happening in the same setting (111 years apart). It is a love story, a mystery, an exploration of Kierkegaard’s philosophical claims about how a human self is forged, and why it is that “temporality, finitude is what it is all about.”
Hough’s poetry has appeared in many literary magazines—her first volume of poetry, “The Hide”, was published by Inleaf Press in 2007.
She is also the author of “Nietzsche’s Noontide Friend: The Self as Metaphoric Double” (Penn State Press, 1997).