WINNER OF THE AUGUST PRIZE, SWEDEN’S MOST PRESTIGIOUS LITERARY HONOR
One of Sweden’s most celebrated young writers and activists spins an exhilarating, innovative, and gripping murder mystery reminiscent of the hit podcast Serial.
A young man named Samuel dies in a horrible car crash. Was it an accident or was it suicide? To answer that question, an unnamed writer with an agenda of his own sets out to map Samuel’s last day alive. Through conversations with friends, relatives, and neighbors, a portrait of Samuel emerges: the loving grandchild, the reluctant bureaucrat, the loyal friend, the contrived poseur. The young man who did everything for his girlfriend Laide and shared everything with his best friend Vandad. Until he lost touch with them both.
By piecing together an exhilarating narrative puzzle, we follow Samuel from the first day he encounters the towering Vandad to when they become roommates. We meet Panther, Samuel’s self-involved childhood friend whose move to Berlin indirectly cues the beginning of Samuel’s search for the meaning of love—which in turn leads Samuel to Laide. Soon, Samuel’s relationship with Laide leads to a chasm in his friendship with Vandad, and it isn’t long before the lines between loyalty and betrayal, protection, and peril get blurred irrevocably.
Everything I Don’t Remember is a gripping tale about love and memory. But it is also a story about a writer who, by filling out the contours of Samuel’s story, is actually trying to grasp a truth about himself. In the end, what remains of all our fleeting memories? And what is hidden behind everything we don’t remember? Told with Khemiri’s characteristic stylistic ingenuity, this is an emotional roller coaster ride of a book that challenges us to see ourselves—and our relationships to the closest people in our lives—in new and sometimes shocking ways.
Jonas Hassen Khemiri is one of the most important writers of his generation. He has written four acclaimed novels and one collection of short stories, essays and plays. Khemiri is also a celebrated playwright whose work has been performed on stages around the world and who received an Obie Award in 2011 for his Off-Broadway play Invasion!. He lives in Stockholm.
“This is a wonderful and mysterious book. Close to a journalistic or criminal investigation, every sentence trembles with Khemiri's electrifying prose. A very original tour de force that still vibrated in my mind long after I had read the last page.”
– Herman Koch, New York Times bestselling author of The Dinner
"Unforgettable. In this non-putdownable puzzle of a story, Khemiri manages to both thrill and break your heart.”
– Gary Shteyngart, New York Times bestselling author of Super Sad True Love Story and Little Failure
“Heartbreakingly sad and laugh-out-loud funny. Its chorus of young drifters, romantics and cynics stick in the memory, each competing to tell their own truth about Samuel and his tragic death.” – Hari Kunzru, bestselling author of Gods Without Men
– Hari Kunzru, bestselling author of Gods Without Men
“An enthralling jigsaw-puzzle of a book. Part love story, part reflection on loss, on memory, this smart, one-of-a-kind literary novel is both beautiful and heartbreaking. This is storytelling at its best.”
– Jennifer McMahon, New York Times bestselling author of The Night Sister
“With its energetic prose and innovative structure, Everything I Don’t Remember confirms that Jonas Hassen Khemiri is not only one of Sweden’s best authors, but a great talent of our time.”
– Vendela Vida, author of The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty
“A wonderful exploration of human motivation – why we love, hate, crave, and reject each other. Khemiri writes with an acute sense of perspective and his clean, conceptual prose is gripping from start to finish.”
– Nikita Lalwani, author of Booker Prize-nominated Gifted
“Compelling…In this painful novel about youthful optimism gone hopelessly wrong, Khemiri dramatizes such immigration-related issues as failures in elder care, unemployment and dead-end jobs, drug abuse, and racial prejudice.”
– Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A ‘must’ for those interested in narrative voice.”