From the internationally best-selling author Linn Ullmann, hailed as a “an elegant stylist with an original voice” (New York Times Book Review) comes this taut, brilliantly acute novel of a family who when faced with tragedy must confront their guilt, their longings, and their losses.
The latest and best from Ullmann resists categorization, except as a literary page-turner
— Kirkus Reviews
Siri Brodal, a chef and restaurant owner, is married to Jon Dreyer, a famous novelist plagued by writer’s block. Siri and Jon have two daughters, and together they spend their summers on the coast of Norway, in a mansion belonging to Jenny Brodal, Siri’s stylish and unforgiving mother.
Siri and Jon’s marriage is loving but difficult, and troubled by painful secrets. They have a strained relationship with their elder daughter, Alma, who struggles to find her place in the family constellation. When Milla is hired as a nanny to allow Siri to work her long hours at the restaurant and Jon to supposedly meet the deadline on his book, life in the idyllic summer community takes a dire turn. One rainy July night, Milla disappears without a trace. After her remains are discovered and a suspect is identified, everyone who had any connection with her feels implicated in her tragedy and haunted by what they could have done to prevent it.
In this novel about life and love, rendered like a thriller, Ullmann captures a constellation of characters as complex as they are paradoxical—neither fully guilty nor fully innocent.
One of the favorite books of 2014 according to James Wood of The New Yorker.
One of the 50 best independent fiction and poetry books of 2014, according to Flavorwire.
Interview on The Diane Rehm show: A conversation with author Linn Ullmann about her latest novel, her writing career and how her parents’ work influenced her own creative identity
Interview in Vogue (US): Linn Ullmann Discusses Her New Novel The Cold Song
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