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ABOUT COLLECTED WORKS
“A witty, toothy, family saga, unashamedly intellectual . . . that, like youth, seems to have it all—energy, aspiration, and self-delusion.” —Catherine Taylor, Financial Times
“MEET SWEDEN’S SALLY ROONEY” —The Times of London
“A wry bestseller that reads like the effortlessly chic European cousin of Fleishman is in Trouble.” —The Telegraph of London
“Poised at the intersection of life and art, reality and imagination, [Collected Works] blends the thrill of mystery with the curiosity and depth of philosophical inquiry.” —The New Yorker
“Collected Works . . . is as insatiable in its read as it is insightful to modern challenges of family, memory, and finding purpose.” —Matthew Bedard, Flaunt
“[A] sweeping and complex drama of family, art, and sacrifice . . . Readers will be captivated.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“A richly evocative work from a major new talent.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
A compelling mystery and poignant bildungsroman for readers of Karl Ove Knausgård, Collected Works is a novel about love, power, and art—and what leads us to make the pivotal decisions that change the course of our lives.
Martin Berg’s wife, Cecilia, disappeared years ago. His memories of their carefree college days seem ever out of reach, and the intellectual curiosities that once made him the object of her desire have given way to midlife uncertainty. The methodical and quiet life he’s made for himself and his adult children couldn’t be further from the one he dreamed of in his youth, when the manuscripts lying around his apartment were flush with promise and his ailing publishing house was still new.
Perhaps nothing reminds Martin of these failures more than his friend Gustav Becker, a wildly successful painter who’s returned to Gothenburg on the eve of his career-defining retrospective. Gustav, meanwhile, is hurting too. His obsession with Cecilia’s inexplicable disappearance had made his art hagiographic, fixated on her image. When posters for Gustav’s retrospective plaster Cecilia’s face on major billboards across the city, Martin’s daughter Rakel learns a haunting fact that points toward her mother’s whereabouts. She and her brother chase this clue across time, memory, and Europe to discover why Cecilia abandoned her family, with the imagined hope that the question of what makes a person leave can ever be answered.
Collected Works, a major hit in Sweden, sold over 100,000 copies in its first year in print, instantly making Lydia Sandgren a literary sensation. Winner of the 2020 August Prize for Fiction, the novel is set to publish in 17 territories.
Lydia Sandgren is a trained psychologist and lives in Gothenburg, Sweden. Collected Works is her debut novel.