What My Body Remembers

Agnete Friis, trans. from the Danish by Lindy Falk van Rooyen. Soho Crime, $25.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-61695-602-8
Ella Nygaard, the heroine of this devastating solo debut from Danish author Friis (coauthor of The Boy in the Suitcase and three other Nina Borg novels), was seven when her father allegedly murdered her mother. Some believe that Ella was a witness, but she can’t remember the crime; in fact, she can’t recall anything prior to her subsequent placement in the foster system. Now a 28-year-old single mother, Ella suffers from severe PTSD. When she’s hospitalized after an especially debilitating episode, the government assumes custody of her 11-year-old son, Alex, and tells Ella they need to re-evaluate her parental competence. Ella panics, kidnaps Alex, and decamps to Klitmøller, the remote coastal village where she grew up. Ella’s efforts to unlock her memories and regain control of her life are interspersed with flashbacks to 1994, told from her parents’ perspectives. Emotionally complex characters complement the intricate plot, which reflects on the interconnectivity of poverty, substance abuse, and mental illness. The pace is deliberate, but Friis’s writing is propulsive, and the book’s twisty conclusion will shock and gratify. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/13/2017
Release date: 05/02/2017
Paperback - 978-1-61695-896-1
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