The Family Clause

The Family Clause is an addictive saga about contemporary parenthood. A grandfather who lives abroad returns home to visit his adult children. The son is a failure. The daughter is pregnant by the wrong man. Only the grandfather is perfect, at least according to himself.

But during ten intense days relationships unfold, and painful memories resurface. The grandfather is confronted by his past. The daughter is faced with an impossible choice. The son tries to write himself free. Through a series of quickly changing perspectives we get an intimate portrait of a chaotic and perfectly normal family, deeply wounded by the death of a child and the disappearance of a father.

Something has to give: can the father clause be renegotiated, or will it chain the family forever to its past?

(From the Wylie Agency catalog)

Published in English Spring 2020, by FSG in the US and Harvill Secker in the UK.


“Khemiri works impressively artfully with the finest tools of the realistic prose. […] Small means, classic touches, but put into use by a writer who has never been more skilled. Calling the novel well written would be a ridiculous understatement. Literary paternity is quite unilaterally bound by the patriarch’s figure, good or evil: The hero Atticus Finch in Harper Lees “To Kill a Mockingbird”, the tyrant David Melrose in Edward St. Aubyn’s romance. But Khemiri throws down the patriarch in the playground’s bleak ball-pit and describes the claustrophobic existence of the equal father in the society of performance. Manhood’s classic tendency to escape responsibility is intelligently and snuggly placed against another, more well-suited side of the same selfishness: the will to become, or rather to be perceived as the perfect parent. Smart and simple, and with a greatness hidden in the details, in the human patterns that are exposed, The Family Clause is Khemiris best novel – and also one of the literary year’s brightest highlights.”
– Victor Malm, Expressen (SE)

”Full of laughter and identification in equal measure. You laugh, but with the whole body.”
– Aftonbladet (SE)

– UNT (SE)

“It is a rich tale, full of grief and a beautiful language. Khemiri continues to be a writer that should not be missed.”
– Stefan Eklund, Borås Tidning (SE)

“Behold the great innovator of Swedish literature, with an unique ability to fill his prose with energy and vigour. I am infinitely impressed by his fifth novel.”
– Björn Kohlström, Jönköpings-Posten (SE)

“Khemiri’s novel is a subtle uprising, a understated liberation and a tender defence for the trials of upholding a family. It is full of empathy and humour, close to home.”
– Jenny Aschenbrenner, SvD (SE)

“A tender and shimmering novel, that moves without effort and yet reaches so far. A pure injection of vitamin for us readers.”
– Jenny Lindh, M-magasin (SE)

“Funny and heart-breaking.”
– Therese Eriksson, Tidningen Vi (SE)

“The touch and feel for comic timing and the perfect ear.”
– Mats Kolmisoppi, GP (SE)

«Pappaklausulen is an entertaining, thought-provoking novel written in a brilliant language from Jonas Hassen Khemiri, one of Scandinavia’s most powerful authors.»
– Gabriel Michael Vosgraff Moro, VG (NO)

«Pappaklausulen is beautifully written, more concerned with life than literary conventions, with characters that are complex, composed, human in all their contradictions and both intentionally and unintentionally funny.»
– Bjarne Robberstad, Klassekampen (NO)

«I cannot remember the last time I read such a good description of contemporary parenthood.»
– Hilde Slåtto, Vårt Land (NO)