"The literal fever that begins the book mirrors the feverish beginnings and endings of these relationships, as well as the fever of reading — how it forces the reader inward, then leaves an invisible imprint in its wake. Genberg’s marvelous prose is also a kind of fever, mesmerizing and hot to the touch.” -The New York Times Book Review
An acclaimed Swedish author makes her English language debut with this intoxicating novel in the vein of Rachel Cusk and Sheila Heti, about a woman in the throes of a fever remembering the important people in her past, her memories laid bare in vivid detail as her body temperature rises.
A woman lies bedridden from a high fever. Suddenly she is struck with an urge to revisit a novel from her past. Inside the book is an inscription: a get-well-soon message from Johanna, an ex-girlfriend who is now a famous television host. As she flips through the book, pages from the woman’s own past begin to come alive, scenes of events and people she cannot forget.
There are moments with Johanna, and Niki, the friend who disappeared years ago without a phone number or an address and with no online footprint. There is Alejandro, who appears like a storm in precisely the right moment. And Brigitte, whose elusive qualities mask a painful secret.
The Details is a novel built around four portraits; the small details that, pieced together, comprise a life. Can a loved one really disappear? Who is the real subject of the portrait, the person being painted or the one holding the brush? Do we fully become ourselves through our connections to others? This exhilarating, provocative tale raises profound questions about the nature of relationships, and how we tell our stories. The result is an intimate and illuminating study of what it means to be human.
la Genberg began her writing career as a journalist and is the author of novels Sweet Friday, Belated Farewell, and Small Comfort, and one short story collection. She made her English language debut with The Details. She lives in Sweden.
“The Details is about relationships, about love, about parents and children . . . about all of it. The little observations about being young, and about growing up, and about getting lost by accident, and getting lost on purpose, searching for yourself in everyone else . . . damn it, I’ve underlined half of the book. I wish I could write like this.” — #1 New York Times bestselling author Fredrik Backman
"The literal fever that begins the book mirrors the feverish beginnings and endings of these relationships, as well as the fever of reading — how it forces the reader inward, then leaves an invisible imprint in its wake. Genberg’s marvelous prose is also a kind of fever, mesmerizing and hot to the touch.” — New York Times Book Review
'In four succinct and arresting portraits, the narrator of The Details remembers the people who have shaped her life. At once humorous and heartbreaking, this book is an ode to the different kinds of love that form us. It asks how we hold onto the people who touch us, how we remember them, and whether we should ever let them go. I won't forget this beautiful book.' — Jenna Clarke, author of Disturbance
"A fever dream. . . . Genberg’s prose is a feat of characterization, a triumph of lending language and profundity to observations of daily life....I didn’t read it so much as subconsciously absorb it." — Literary Hub
"Takes readers on a woozy, affecting dive into desire, domination and memory....The Details was a bestseller in Sweden, where it won The August Prize for best fiction book of 2022. An elegant translation by Kira Josefsson deserves to repeat that success. [Genberg has an] empathetic approach to the quirks and failings of her characters. All there is to the self, observes the narrator, are the 'traces of the people we rub up against'. The greatest achievement of this short and affecting novel is its presentation of those encounters as one long fever dream." — Financial Times
“Emotionally nuanced and formally innovative, Ia Genberg’s beautiful novel The Details manages the remarkable feat of painting a whole picture of a single life, solely via the lives of the people who have touched it. This is a novel that, through its very bones, encapsulates one of the most important ideas of our current political moment - the necessity of connection, and our vulnerability to one other.”
— Susannah Dickey, author of Tennis Lessons
“The non-linear narrative renders the protagonist both vivid and obscure – the perfect conduit for this compelling, uncannily precise meditation on transcience.” — The Observer (London)