The Survivors

Alex Schulman, trans. from the Swedish by Rachel Willson-Broyles. Doubleday, $25 (240p) ISBN 978-0-385-54756-7
Author and TV journalist Schulman’s searing if simplistic English-language debut follows three adult brothers as they wrestle with the legacy of a tragedy that upended their childhoods over 20 years earlier. After their mother’s death from stomach cancer, Benjamin, Nils, and Pierre reunite to take her ashes to a cabin in rural Sweden where they often stayed as children. It is an emotionally fraught place for the boys: while their adventures there drew them close, it’s laden with memories of their parents’ fickle moods—their father, at turns doting and wrathful; their mother, loving and cruel. Benjamin, calm and observant, narrates, and attempts to hold together the mercurial and aloof Nils. Schulman teases out the story’s central mystery slowly, alternating chapters between Benjamin’s memories and the brothers’ haphazard reunion. Schulman writes in an understated prose and has an intuitive feel for the subtleties of gesture and memory. While the conclusion’s revelation of the incident that sundered the family feels a bit too clean, the author’s skills with character development are undeniable. Schulman shows he has plenty of talent to burn. Agent: Astri von Arbin Ahlander, Ahlander Agency. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/05/2021
Release date: 10/05/2021
Genre: Fiction
Book - 1 pages - 978-0-385-54757-4
Hardcover - 240 pages - 978-0-385-69734-7
Book - 978-0-593-31442-5
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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