cover image A Question Mark Is Half a Heart

A Question Mark Is Half a Heart

Sofia Lundberg, trans. from the Swedish by Nichola Smalley. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25 (310p) ISBN 978-1-328-47302-8

In this tense outing, Lundberg (The Red Address Book) follows photographer Elin as she attempts to come to grips with the course of her life. Elin, her husband Sam, and her teenage daughter, Alice, live in luxury in Manhattan, but Elin’s childhood in Sweden, where her family often didn’t have enough money for milk, was a different story. Now, Elin is unsatisfied in her career, faces trouble with her marriage because Sam feels shut out by her, and is disconnected from her daughter. After receiving a star chart and a mysterious note in Swedish reading “On this day, a star was named Elin,” Elin eventually determines the missive came from Fredrik, a friend from school. As the novel continues, Lundberg gradually reveals the complexity of Elin and Fredrik’s bond and the entwined relationship of their families, as they become stepsiblings, and Elin’s mysterious Google search for “Statute of limitations homicide Sweden” takes on startling connotation after a surprise plot twist. The author succeeds at painting a picture of Elin and Fredrik’s intersecting families, as Elin grapples with the decisions she made for self-preservation. Readers will soak up the suspense as they search for the truth alongside Elin up until the end. (Mar.)