A new mother turns to old acquaintances for help when her future is under threat.
Karin’s boyfriend, John, is dead. He’s left Karin with a big, beautiful house on the lakeside, an infant daughter named Dream—and the Swedish Economic Crime Authority on her trail. John’s criminal career had previously ensured Karin’s comfort, but now that he's gone, she has little left but loose change. In the middle of a frigid Scandinavian winter, after she gets word from the authority that her house and car will be seized within days, Karin—accompanied by Dream—reaches out to some of John’s old associates in the hope that there might be a way, legal or not, to ensure her financial stability. But Karin quickly realizes that the people she thought of as her closest friends are no longer keen to help. Though the plot of Ramqvist’s English debut may make it sound like a crime thriller, the pace is lulling, the writing sensuous and patiently observed. So much of the book, in fact, consists of long scenes of Karin nursing Dream or spending hours watching the infant play that the book feels, more than any thriller, like an allegory of parenting. Karin’s life as a new mother is as gray and unchanging as the winter sky. When she tries to return to her old life, even temporarily, she feels alien and vulnerable. Ramqvist repeatedly shows Karin struggling with the physical weight of her daughter, trying to push a stroller through snow, or teetering off balance with a heavy car seat on her arm. And as Karin, quite literally, works to keep Dream alive against a backdrop of violence and deception, readers root for both characters to find their way.
Delicate and unsparing.