Jens M. Johansson’s big breakthrough in Norway, shamelessly praised by critics and readers are already calling the novel a Norwegian Elena Ferrante.
The novel revolves around Else. We follow her from when she is born on the day before the Second World War breaks out, and to her death. Simon is the narrator. He is married to Else’s youngest daughter. Katja has always been furious with her mother. And now – when Katja and Simon’s marriage is falling apart – he starts to piece together Else’s forgotten life. Simon’s pursuit through letters, diaries, small notes and receipts gradually becomes more desperate. He has to understand Else in order to understand Katja, to save their marriage. But most importantly – he is afraid he will inflict his son Leon with the unhappiness he feels in his own marriage. The novel describes Else’s social climb and a world in quick transformation: a world war, a sexual revolution. It shows how minor details are crucial to a human’s destiny. It is a book about the fragile choices we make in our lives, about expectations and betrayal. And a moving story about love, marriage, family and a sense of belonging.
Jens M. Johansson’s new novel is an intense, wellwritten,
well-documented story of our fragile lives,
our longing for meaning and love. Look forward to a
deep and meaningful reading experience!
When it comes to illuminating our most private rooms, in all their vulnerable and comical joy, Johansson is one of a kind.
A very good novel.