The Family Clause
Jonas Hassen Khemiri, Alice Menzies
‘A bold and remarkable novel…full of heart and compassion’ Dinaw Mengestu
A bad-tempered grandfather, now living abroad, is back in Stockholm to see his adult children. The son is a failure, the daughter is having a baby with the wrong man, and their mother is a heartless deserter. Only he, the patriarch, is perfect – according to himself, at least. Over ten intense days, the strained relationships of this chaotic but entirely normal family unfold, and painful memories begin to resurface. Something has to give. But the son is duty-bound to his father by a murky, years-old agreement – can it be renegotiated, or will it bind everyone to the past for ever?
‘The dynamics of each relationship are superbly complex, and Khemiri’s wry, comic touch gives a lightness to the inevitability as the children follow in their father’s footsteps’ Guardian
‘Excellent…the complex portrait of a family that is both identifiable and distinctive, normal and strange’ TLS
A beautiful study of familial need and mess, in which the universal and the particular play footsie with each other. Deft, artful, but above all insightful till it hurts, this is Khemiri's best yet. -- Nikita Lalwani A bold and remarkable novel - a marvel of form and imagination that is also miraculously full of heart and compassion. -- Dinaw Mengestu Absent fathers, wayward children, generational strife and the sheer fatigue of new parenthood... Khemiri's prose has a zing and bite stylishly served by Alice Menzies's pacy, idiomatic translation...The Family Clause [has] an epic, as well as a comic, buoyancy. -- Boyd Tonkin * Spectator * The dynamics of each relationship are superbly complex, and Khemiri's wry, comic touch gives a lightness to the inevitability as the children follow in their father's footsteps. -- Catherine Menon * Guardian * Excellent... Exquisitely translated by Alice Menzies... What Khemiri achieves is not just an engrossing narrative but the complex portrait of a family that is both identifiable and distinctive, normal and strange. -- Tabish Khair * Times Literary Supplement *
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