People around me who lifted this book up have not been able to put it down. Nor will you be able to. Tom Malmquist has written one of the most hypnotically terrifying love books I have read. Heartbreakingly relentless. ... This is a book written, not only in strong emotion, but also with a brutal skill. The first hundred pages of hospital inferno are like a single breath. There is no then, no later, just now.
Impossible to resist ... There is so much humanity in this book. Equally hilarious and unremarkable as rich in purpose. Just as dirty as beautiful.
It is not only admiration, but also wonder, I feel about Malmquist's way to face the grief with linguistic energy, to never lapsing into an already frayed image of death, love and longing - instead writing through, both death and love - but in its own way. The process of writing is a deeply personal struggle, a life struggle.
Beautiful . . . as more books are published and more stories get told, we increasingly seek out those writers who promise to give us something more than mere fiction. We want books made out of lives . . . The value of Malmquist's book is precisely that it retains a trace of true human presence - carefully preserved by the author, but not his own.
There's a poet's eye for small details . . . The present-day is intercut with the past, and this works well: it is arresting to have Karin alive then gone in everyday moments . . . a fine first novel.
It is bound to invite comparison to Karl Ove Knausgaard's My Struggle, the autofiction sensation that has swept Norway and beyond. Both authors explore balancing fatherhood with a writing life. Both are concerned, to varying degrees, with an intentionally cultivated sense of artlessness. The prosaic stuff of life, such as family conversations, trifling arguments and ingredients for festive meals, is presented in a seemingly unfiltered manner. Perhaps more so than Knausgaard, Malmquist demonstrates over lengthy passages that he can relay life in an intense, heightened state. The result is exhilarating
Urgent, heart-breaking and life-affirming, this autobiographical novel about grief and parenting probes the boundaries between life and writing.
[A] searing autobiographical novel depict[ing] a father struggling to cope with the tragic loss of his partner just as their daughter is born.