Half Lives goes straight to your heart. A different love story, a family saga and a scarlet thread of suspense are blended into something perfectly irresistable.” Camilla Läckberg

Jessica can’t let go of her memories of Jakob. He was the love of her life. And he had felt the same. Or had he not? Why did he suddenly disappear without a trace, without an explanation? The uncertainty torments Jessica. Despite all her success as a cocky sex advisor on television and in the press, she has a hard time enjoying life. Years go by. New relations can’t help her forget. Neither can pills or friends.

When Jessica’s grandmother Viola dies, she gets something else to think about. Viola’s diary unfolds secrets about the family that Jessica never could have imagined. What she finds out changes everything about her past.

And then, all of a sudden, she finds Jakob. At least, she is sure of it, even though the man tells her that she has made a mistake. He says he doesn’t know her at all. Could she really be wrong? Has she lost her mind?

The past and the present are beautifully interwoven in Half Lives, alternating between the south of Sweden in the present day and Stockholm in the 1950’s.

331 pages


Germany: C. Bertelsmann
Poland: Marginesy
Sweden: Forum


“With Half Lives the Swedish author Mats Strandberg gives us a great and wonderful novel beyond the usual genre boundaries. Half Lives describe a time that is not so far back in time. The whole story is an appeal for tolerance between people. Mats Strandberg shows that he is a gifted and innovative writer who has the courage to write in a popular genre, but still leave the clichés aside and tell a really good story.”
Booksection.de / DE

“A woman’s novel that has everything a woman’s novel shall have, love, sex, excitement and action. Exactly the right thing for a night at home.”
Dapd (AP) / DE

“The coolest and most beautiful book of this summer.”
Schöne Freizeit! / DE

“Read at a stretch …. exciting and with a deeper thought.”
Tara / SWE

Half Lives is more than an entertaining read. You find a depth and a story that is both interesting and educating. /…/ The portray of Jessica has many dimensions …”

“I love the parts that take place in the fifties./…/The description of Jessica is also really good. Especially the part about her psychological situation and how she deals with her problems. Very trustworthy./…/The research is thorough and not one detail feels odd or apart. It’s no problem to travel back in time and to see all the old surroundings.”
Bokhora / SWE

“Mats Strandberg lets the contrasts meet in his third novel Half Lives. He does it with a feel for the linguistic differences between now and then.”
Expressen / SWE

“Mats Strandberg has created a sensitive and empathic portrait of a complicated woman, living in a time of repression and condemnation.”
Aftonbladet / SWE

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