Praise for Everything I Don’t Remember:
“In this painful novel about youthful optimism gone hopelessly wrong, Khemiri dramatizes such immigration-relatedissues as failure in elder care, unemployment and dead-end jobs, drug abuse, and racial prejudice.”
—Publisher's Weekly, starred review
“fast-paced, uniquely structured novel [that] explores family, race, inheritance, and memory. Readers needn’t be
too patient to be utterly enveloped by it.”
“A must for those interested in narrative voice”
“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.”
bestselling author of Gods Without Men
Praise for Ways to Disappear:
"[An] elegant page-turner....Novey writes with cool precision and breakneck pacing....This lush and tightly woven novel manages to be a meditation on all forms of translation while still charging forward with the momentum of a bullet."
New York Times Book Review
"[A] seductive mystery....Novey, a poet and translator, brings to her first novel a zesty comic touch and refreshing insights into the delicate processes of writing and translation."
―Jane Ciabattari, BBC
"Bewitching....A tale of playful suspense that ingeniously transmutes into a profound meditation on language and love."
―Elliott Holt, O, The Oprah Magazine
"Exhilarating....Sly, lovely writing.... In Raquel, Beatriz's hard-bitten daughter, [Novey] has created a heart-rending portrait of the price someone always ends up paying for genius. A writer to watch."
―Charles Finch, USA Today
In Conversation: Jonas Hassen Khemiri and Idra Novey
Tuesday September 20, 2016
We’re pleased to welcome multi-award winning Swedish writer Jonas Hassen Khemiri (One Eye Red; Montecore: The Silence of the Tiger) and poet, writer and translator Idra Novey (Ways to Disappear), who talked about Khemiri’s latest novel, the unique murder mystery Everything I Don’t Remember (Atria Books; July, 2016).
About Everything I Don’t Remember:
One of Sweden’s most celebrated young writers and activists, Jonas Hassen Khemiri, spins an exhilirating, innovative, and gripping murder mystery reminiscent of the hit podcast Serial in this “ultimately moving and grimly funny” (Kirkus) novel!
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 (Atria Books; July, 2016) 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.
About Ways to Disappear:
This highly acclaimed debut novel begins with the disappearance of a famous Brazilian novelist and the young translator who turns her life upside down to follow her author's trail. Deep in gambling debt, the celebrated Brazilian writer Beatriz Yagoda is last seen holding a suitcase and a cigar and climbing into an almond tree. She abruptly vanishes. In snowy Pittsburgh, her American translator Emma hears the news and, against the wishes of her boyfriend and Beatriz's two grown children, flies immediately to Brazil. There, in the sticky, sugary heat of Rio, Emma and her author's children conspire to solve the mystery of Yagoda's curious disappearance. Brilliant and compulsively readable, Ways to Disappear is a gloriously inventive novel about the ways we do appear to each other. Both playful and profound, it is as much a mystery as it is a manifesto on the joys of translation. It is a novel, as Dustin Illingworth writes in the LA Times, "that blooms in the spaces between languages, between continents, between selves past and present.” READ AN EXCERPT
Jonas Hassen Khemiri is one of the most important writers of his generation in Sweden. When his debut novel, One Eye Red (Ett öga rött) was published in 2003, Khemiri’s eccentric and imaginative prose made a huge splash and reached an audience far beyond traditional literary circles. The book-turned-phenomenon was awarded the Borås Tidning Award for Best Literary Debut Novel and also became an enormous bestseller, selling over 200,000 copies in paperback—the most of any book, all categories, in Sweden in 2004.
Khemiri’s equally original second novel, Montecore: The Silence of the Tiger (Montecore – en unik tiger), was published to rave reviews and was awarded the prestigious P.O. Enquist Literary Prize, won Swedish Radio’s Award for Best Novel, and was nominated for the August Award, the highest literary prize in Sweden. Upon its US publication by A. A. Knopf, the New York Times Book Review dubbed the novel “wondrous.” In 2012, following a terrorist bombing in central Stockholm, Khemiri published the powerful short novel I Call My Brothers (Jag ringer mina bröder) to great critical acclaim.
Everything I Don’t Remember (Allt jag inte minns), Khemiri’s greatly anticipated new novel, was published in the fall of 2015, and in November 2015, the novel was awarded the August Prize in the category “Best Swedish Fiction Book of the Year”.
Khemiri’s novels have been translated into over twenty languages. He is also a celebrated playwright, whose six plays have been performed by over hundred international companies on stages from Stockholm to Berlin to New York to London. He was awarded a Village Voice Obie Award for his first play Invasion!, which premiered in New York in 2011. The second play God Times Five toured Sweden and the third play The Hundred We Are received the Hedda Award for best play in Norway. Khemiri’s most recent play ≈[Almost Equal To] premiered at Dramaten in Stockholm in October 2014 to rave reviews.
Idra Novey is the author of the debut novel Ways to Disappear, a New York Times Editors’ Choice. Born in Western Pennsylvania, she has since lived in Chile, Brazil and New York. Her poetry collections include Exit, Civilian, selected by Patricia Smith for the 2011 National Poetry Series, The Next Country, a finalist for the 2008 Foreword Book of the Year Award, and Clarice: The Visitor, a collaboration with the artist Erica Baum. Her fiction and poetry have been translated into eight languages and she’s written for the New York Times, NPR’s All Things Considered, Slate, and The Paris Review.
She is the recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Poets & Writers Magazine, the PEN Translation Fund, the Poetry Foundation, and the Poetry Society of America. She’s also translated the work of several prominent Brazilian writers, most recently Clarice Lispector’s novel The Passion According to G.H. She’s taught at Princeton University, Columbia, NYU, Fordham, the Catholic University of Chile, and in the Bard Prison Initiative. In Fall 2016, she will be the Visiting Distinguished Writer in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at LIU Brooklyn.