A riveting psychological drama that challenges the way we understand others—and our own sense of self
Mia is a schoolteacher in Denmark. Her husband, Frederik, is the charismatic headmaster of a local private school. During a vacation on Majorca, they discover that a brain tumor has started to change Frederik's personality. As it becomes harder and harder for Mia to recognize him, she must protect herself and their teenage son from the strange, blunted being who now inhabits her husband's body—and with whom she must share her home, her son, and her bed.
When millions of crowns go missing at the private school, Frederik is the obvious culprit, and Mia's private crisis quickly draws in the entire community. Frederick's new indifference and lack of inhibition rupture long-standing friendships, isolating Mia and making her question who Frederik really is. Was the tumor already affecting him during the years they had been so happy together? And does it excuse Frederik from fraud?
Mia enlists the help of a lawyer named Bernhard, whom she meets in a support group for spouses of people with brain injuries. As they prepare Frederik's defense, the two of them wrestle with the latest brain research, the age-old question of free will—and their growing attraction to each other.
Jungersen's lithe prose and unexpected plot twists will keep readers hooked until the very last page.
Jungersen s (The Exception) brilliant latest novel, set in the suburbs of Copenhagen, explores a troubled marriage that is further complicated by a personality-altering brain injury. A doctor informs Mia Halling that her husband Frederik, a private school headmaster, has a brain tumor that will make him treat her differently. ou must be prepared for to lose all empathy for you, he warns. When Frederik is arrested for embezzlement, Mia looks to his diagnosis as a possible legal defense. This leads her to question the entirety of their marriage especially the time she regards as their three good years, when Frederik was faithful and caring. Jungersen peppers the novel with the phrase the real Frederik, a notion that torments Mia whenever she tries to define it. Her fear that their best years were just a by-product of a tumor creates more suspense than Frederik s criminal trial. Jungersen loses interest in the trial, focusing on Mia s entanglement with Bernard Berman, Frederik s lawyer and a member of her support group for spouses of brain-damaged people. As the novel progresses, Mia begins to suspect that many people around her suffer from brain damage, leaving the reader with an exciting sense of unease.