Fredrik Backman never disappoints, but he may pull at your heartstrings more than a little…
He begins the story in this way: “Does it make a difference if I killed a good person? A loved person? A valuable life? If it was a child?”
The novella features two cancer patients in hospital. A five-year old girl, and a grown man with an adult son.
The little girl is stoic in the way that only sweet, innocent children can be. The man faces his prognosis filled with reminiscences and regrets.
All his life he wanted to be a success. To make his mark upon the world – to leave a footprint behind. He has done that… but at what cost? He was never a real father to his son, spending next to no time with him and disappointing him time after time.
“Every parent will take five minutes in the car outside the house from time to time, just sitting there. Just breathing and gathering the strength to head back inside to all of their responsibilities. The suffocating expectation of being good, coping.”
He notices a woman with a grey cardigan carrying a folder with a black pencil. He knows who SHE is. He has seen her before. When his parents died, when his best friend died… Now, she hovers in the corridor of the hospital. Will she come for him next, or, will she come for the little girl?
The man makes a ‘deal‘ with the woman. What is the deal he makes? You’ll just have to read this charming story to find out…
This is a story about parenthood, about ‘doing the right thing’, about life and death, about love, and about the meaning of ‘home’. Highly recommended!
Didactic fiction all wrapped up in a Christmas bow !
My request was declined to read and review this title from Atria Books via Edelweiss. However, my love of Fredrik Backman ensured that I purchased the novella anyway. Money well spent!
Fredrik Backman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here, as well as a novella, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer. His books are being published around the world in more than thirty-five languages. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children.