A young man named Samuel dies in a horrible car crash. Was it an accident or was it suicide? 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 day he first encounters the towering Vandad to when they become roommates. We meet Panther, Samuel’s self-involved childhood friend whose move to Berlin cues the beginning of Samuel’s search for the meaning of love – which in turn leads him to Laide. Laide has left a broken marriage behind in Brussels and returned to Stockholm where she becomes the protector of vulnerable women she meets in her role as interpreter from Arabic. When Samuel’s grandmother moves to a retirement home, Samuel and Laide secretly turn her house into a safe house for women. Samuel spends less and less time with Vandad as he becomes more drawn into his relationship with Laide, and Vandad, who is struggling to find work, is broke and misses his best friend. When an opportunity arises to become more involved in Samuel’s life and make a buck at the same time, he jumps at the chance. But after disaster strikes, the question of who did what drives a wedge between the friends.
Everything I Don’t Remember (Allt jag inte minns) 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? By employing the detective novel’s narrative suspense and shifting perspectives, Jonas Hassen Khemiri has created a story that grips us by the throat and won’t let us go while simultaneously challenging us to see ourselves and the world in new ways. Told with Khemiri’s characteristic stylistic ingenuity, Everything I Don’t Remember is an emotional roller coaster ride of a book that promises to become a modern classic.
The novel has been sold to more than 25 countries. For more info about international rights, please contact the Wylie Agency.
2016 Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year, chosen by Joyce Carol Oates.
Shortlisted for Premio Strega Europeo (Italy, 2017).
“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
“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
“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
“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.
Everything I Don’t Remember has been awarded the August prize in the category “Best Swedish Fiction Book of the Year”!
The jury’s motivation for the nomination was as follows:
How did Samuel die, and why? Jonas Hassen Khemiri’s portrayal of the deceitfulness of memory and testimony is as enthralling as a thriller. But the novel is also a love story and a tale of violence, unforgivable betrayals, and the power of economics. An unconventional narrative structure where several different voices paint the portrait of the protagonist. All written in a sophisticated, toned down prose, where the shadowy existence of undocumented immigrants and criminals collide with the sunny world of privilege in a ruthless and hectic Stockholm.
The August Prize is Sweden’s biggest and most important national literary award, given by the Swedish Publisher’s Association. Khemiri was nominated for the same prize in 2006 for his novel Montecore: The Silence of the Tiger.
“Unforgettably beautiful […] Everything I Don’t Remember is a roaringly beautiful tale of grief, not just over all the people we’ve lost, but a grief so big and inconceivable that it includes everything that surrounds us.”
– Expressen (SE)
“This damn book is a masterpiece.”
– Patrik Lundberg, Aftonbladet (SE)
“Jonas Hassen Khemiri is a musical and sharp craftsman, a master of navigating between sentences, climbing over them and turning back. […] You recognize Jonas Hassen Khemiri from his earlier books in the games he play with language, his nimbleness and ability to capture events at hand. Yet – everything is also more quiet, somehow broken. It’s very beautiful that way.”
– Kulturnytt (SE)
“It’s furiously skillfully accomplished. And at the same time done with such a light-hand that the pages rush forward. Khemiri walks a tight-rope between the amusing and the melancholy […] Everything I Don’t Remember is Jonas Hassen Khemiri’s best novel so far – and it won’t be forgotten anytime soon.”
– Norrköpings Tidningar (SE)
“A novel with incredible timing and an insane flow in the dialogue. Above all, the novel conveys the feeling of how much fun it is to talk. The power is in the spoken language. ‘Writing is the hardest thing I know’, Jonas Hassen Khemiri said in an interview. I’m sorry, but it does not show.”
– Aftonbladet (SE)
“It’s a fervently beautiful, humorous and painful tale of two people who reach each other on all levels yet can’t stand that very intimacy. This is great literature and also shows a new Khemiri, more scaled back, less of a language juggler. […] One of the most powerful and well-written novels you will read this fall.”
– Borås Tidning (SE)
“When I finished reading, I once again find myself covered in goosebumps. Great literature has that ability, to create physical experiences within the reader. Jonas Hassen Khemiri is a fantastic author talent who simply must be spread across the world with full force. And Everything I Don’t Remember is a sensationally good novel that you just have to read.”
– Verdens Gang, 6/6 (NO)
“Everything I Don’t Remember is perhaps the best book Khemiri has written so far. It leaves a lasting impression. […] Everything I Don’t Remember starts off with the drive of a thriller but grows into a social and societal panorama of Sweden today. […] It’s not always clear who the narrator is. This creates a captivating narrative, which is like a rusty mosaic or a puzzle with a few pieces missing. It gives the readers an opportunity to make their own interpretations.”
– Helsingin Sanomat (FI)
“Everything I Don’t Remember is an impressive reading experience. […] The suspense builds slowly and elegantly, to eventually create an image of violence, longing, and misleading memories.”
– Menaiset (FI)
“A grand return from Jonas Hassen Khemiri. […] Jonas Hassen Khemiri has fingerspitzengefühl when it comes to language, which turns his books into time capsules […] The result is a painful and beautiful tale of love and grief, of the emptiness of existence and the transience of a life lived. Of the importance of making the most of every passing moment, volatile and elusive as a scent.”
– Dalademokraten (SE)
“The novel is both generous and deeply sad. To read Everything I Don’t Remember is to experience a sense of participation, of glimpsing lives that otherwise would have rushed past without anyone explaining their significance. The novel is a love story, but what’s most difficult to forget, which makes me think ‘how powerful this was’, is how the novel calls to attention different and intersecting ties between people. How loneliness is always there, at the centre, and at any time can turn the everyday into a tragedy.”
– Dagens Nyheter (SE)
“In order to reach the point of the story, that lies buried underneath the letters on the page, and also to shed light upon the subtext – which is about how memory relates to reality – Khemiri flips his story over, winds it inside out, turn after turn, all to get to the heart of the matter. The reader must give their all, concentrate. Therefore, reading it feels urgent, essential even. […] The setup is as simple as it is brilliant. […] I’m full of admiration!”
– Norrbottens-Kurien (SE)
“He scatters fragments of conversations out onto the pages, which we are then left to put together like a puzzle. […] What makes this story so strong is that you don’t want to let go of those fragments, instead you want to find something in them that might be the truth. […] In that way, the novel is also about the power of literature and language; In other words: Khemiri at his best.”
– Kulturnyheterna (SE)
“Far from everyone would pull off a story with this kind of form, but Jonas Hassen Khemiri does it completely convincingly. […] I’m reading with an admiring and slightly blissful smile. It’s so well done!”
– Östgöta Correspondenten (SE)
“Some books just get better the more you think about them. Even if they were good already when you were reading them. Everything I Don’t Remember is such a book. […] As the title suggests, it it a great deal about memory. About remembering, forgetting, and everything you think you remember. Or have forgotten. But Everything I Don’t Remember will be remembered. And recommended.”
– Dagsavisen (NO)
“Everything I Don’t Remember is both an impressive and fascinating novel. […] It’s a story that burns with originality and dark melancholy. Simply brilliant.”
– Nerikes Allehanda (SE)
“Some books are so beautiful that you want to save them so you can take them out whenever you need to. Some books claw and tear at you more than others. Some books force you to pause before you read any further. Some books you’ll remember more than others. This is such a book.”
– Kulturbloggen (SE)
“He always portrays the people that so few other authors portray (and if they do portray them, they’re gangsters), plays with the words in a way that doesn’t feel forced, finds a precise word for a shade of a feeling, writes with such an enviable flow that makes many aspiring authors just quit immediately. It’s impossible to compete. But in Everything I Don’t Remember, the quality of what Jhk has done before is maximized, it almost fades in comparison. Everything I Don’t Remember is the best that I’ve read from Jonas Hassen Khemiri and the best book for adults this year, […] Everything I Don’t Remember is clever, melancholy, beautiful, the best from Jhk, and nominated for the August Prize.”
– Bokhora (SE)
“He writes with a language that is peerless in its vitality, with incomparable sharpness to his analysis and description, and above all a rare ability to capture the reader.”
– Skånska Dagbladet (SE)
“To read Everything I Don’t Remember is to enter a by now well known and established Khemiri land, and I feel very at home there. This is a book that needs to be read with attentiveness, and with its playful ambiguity it gives plenty back.”
– Göteborgsposten (SE)
“A poignant triangle drama about love and betrayal. […] I suddenly find my guard down. […] Khemiri writes every minor character in the richest 3D. […] Everything I Don’t Remember really is a living, breathing story.”
– Dagens ETC (SE)
“Everything I Don’t Remember is a beautiful and melancholy tale. […] I really like Khemiri’s pitch perfect sense of the way people talk. And are. Faltering and yearning. […] Everything I Don’t Remember is a novel I will remember for a long time.”
– Norrländska Socialdemokraten (SE)
“In this book the strong depictions of everyday life are what leaves the strongest impression. Khemiri writes which such an intense and vivid devotion. Due to the somewhat intricate form he’s chosen, the book at first feels a little hard to take in. But after a few pages the plot grabs hold, you get very close to the characters and you’re captivated by the narrative and mind little of the constant and abrupt shifts of narrator and focus.”
– Kulturspeilet (NO)
“I promise no one will be disappointed with Everything I Don’t Remember! It is the love story of the fall, a fantastic depiction of friendship and, on top of that, a sharp and relevant spotlight on Sweden. With the motor of a thriller spinning in the background.”
– M Magasin, 5/5 (SE)
“Jonas Hassen Khemiri has a way of writing that’s not reminiscent of any other author. It is heavy yet still light, vast yet still close. […] It is a book that demands time. […] And it’s well worth every minute.”
– Barometern Oskarshamns-Tidningen (SE)
“There’s no doubt that Khemiri is one of our most skillful storytellers and in Everything I Don’t Remember there are very strong character portraits. […] During the last dizzying twenty pages the perspectives are displaced, new keys are offered, and the novel topples our habitual way of seeing the world in a way only really good literature can do.”
– Svenska Dagbladet (SE)
“Moving, and actually thrilling like the best page-turners. […] At the same time, there’s something beautiful and redeeming in the credo of the novel: we may be fakers and charlatans, but the relationships we establish with the world and each other are their own truths.”
– Sydsvenskan (SE)