Not Dead Yet (Inte död än)
Imagine a place where we could revisit events and places from our lives – maybe experience them from new angles or even relive them with a new sort of understanding.
Eighty-four-year-old Elis wakes up at the cardiac intensive care unit after a strained afternoon celebrating Christmas Eve with his family. He realises he’s running out of time if he wants to find the answers to all the questions that have been haunting him throughout his life.
After invasive surgical procedures he finds himself bound to the high tech bed in the newly built state of the art hospital, where long hours of solitude brings him to periods of focused stillness. He begins to “cross over” into dreamlike states of mind, but they’re not regular dreams – they’re something more.
In these rifts he gets to meet those who have meant the most to him. The one he called Mother, the one he called Mom, his first love and the woman he ended up marrying. He gains access to those crucial moments in his life: Holidays spent with his beloved foster family in Dalarna, the challenging task of parenting a child, being a husband, his career at the Tele Communications Network/Televerket, and relishing the gift of music. His life has been lived hand in hand with the emerging of the Swedish model, the idea of a welfare state where the state provided for its citizens. He has also seen the decline of this system and witnessed how his beloved jazz club had to give way for the era of pop. At the hospital he befriends the vibrant male nurse Tony, who dares to joke about death. Due to Tony’s skills in basic internet knowledge the two of them embark on a quest trying to figure out what happened to Elis’s first big love Ester – and what mystery actually lay behind her sudden break up with him – almost seventy years ago.
Not Dead Yet is both a gripping elegy over a political dream era that is no more, and a celebration to life itself.
After his two highly praised YA novels Down Under and The Horse Boys Johan Ehn now presents his first literary fiction novel for adults.
Sweden: Romanus & Selling
“It is phenomenal. Or it should be pehnomenal. By the authors special way of grasping the reader with a warm, determined and understanding hand. […] Johan Ehn’s embracing novel could almost make me religious. But I am content with the proof that literature can be divine.”
Arbetarbladet / SWE
“What an outstanding storyteller you are, Johan Ehn! The brand-new novel Not Dead Yet is a touching and emotional read on how to deal with your past and to reconcile yourself. I am impressed by how the rather objective and quiet tone still arouses my great commitment and makes it a captivating page turner.Highly recommended! […] The plot caught me immediately and I was early captivated by wanting to know more about Eli’s life and where the novel would take me. It is a sincere and honest story that exposes the very innermost, which means that we as readers get really close in on the main character’s life. […] A novel that touches and leaves an impression after reading.”
Agneta Norrgård, book reviewer at radio P4 Västernorrland / SWE
“I liked this book so much! I smiled and cried over and over again from this nice and warm story. One of the best reading experiences I have had!”
malas_bokhylla / SWE
“Oh, what a book! So powerful, beautiful, and gripping! It gets under one’s skin and hugs the heart tightly. […] This is one of my strongest reading experiences this year, and I do not know how I will be able to go on and read something else! Many thanks Johan Ehn! Your storytelling has already knocked me out twice, but now you’ve probably outdone yourself!”
Boksann / SWE
“I’ve been crying, crying and crying in the ugliest of ways. Insert snot, weird sounds, funny grimaces etc. Well, you know. It seems I needed to cry. […] Johan Ehn is steadily moving his way up on my list of favorite Swedish authors. No book is similar to the other so far, he serves diversity and a fantastic multitude of stories, and they just keep getting better. And all that crying? Well, in the end this story is comforting, full of consolation. At least for me. I hope it will be for you too.”
Semestersiv / SWE
“Raiting 5 of 5. Well written, gripping, funny, interesting, touching, and very good. I can warmly recommend the book”
Brittmariekullin / SWE