cover image In Every Moment We Are Still Alive

In Every Moment We Are Still Alive

Tom Malmquist, trans. from the Swedish by Henning Koch. Melville House (PRH, dist.), $25.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-61219-711-1

Malmquist presents a moving portrait of the disorientation of grief in this heady debut novel. It opens with a frantic, prolonged blow-by-blow account of the emergency hospital visit during which Tom’s pregnant partner, Karin, is diagnosed with fast-acting leukemia. Days after her diagnosis, Tom becomes a bewildered new parent to premature daughter Livia, while mourning his partner, who dies shortly after giving birth. Tom stumbles forward while flashing back to earlier, happier times with Karin. He frankly recounts his jealousies and her fears of abandonment. The slippage in time illustrates the strange logic of grief, which catapults the bereaved back through random memories. In the midst of these moments, Malmquist offers a stinging satire of the bureaucratic processes ill-equipped to cope with an unmarried single father whose partner has died. A final note of hope that avoids making sense of pain rounds out this beautiful, raw meditation on earth-shattering personal loss. (Feb.)