A Good Life

A Good Life

Jens M. Johansson

Original title: Et godt liv
Publisher: Tiden, 2016
Genre: Novels and short stories
Pages: 380 pages

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Jens M. Johansson’s big breakthrough in Norway, shamelessly praised by critics – readers are already calling it a Norwegian Elena Ferrante.

The story revolves around Elsa. We follow her from when she is born on the day before the Second World War breaks out, and to her death. Simon is the narrator. He is married to Elsa’s youngest daughter. Katya has always been furious with her mother. Now – as Katya and Simon’s marriage is falling apart – he starts to piece together Elsa’s forgotten life. Simon’s pursuit through letters, diaries, small notes and receipts gradually becomes more desperate.

He has to understand Elsa in order to understand Katya, to save their marriage. And most importantly – he is afraid he will inflict his son Leon with the unhappiness he feels in his own marriage.
The novel describes Elsa’s social climb and a world in quick transformation: a world war, a sexual revolution. It shows how minor details are crucial to a human’s destiny. It’s about the fragile choices we make in our lives, about expectations and betrayal. A moving story about belonging.

“Jens M. Johansson’s new novel is an intense, well-written, well-documented story of our fragile lives, our longing for meaning and love. Look forward to a deep and meaningful reading experience!”


“Jens M. Johansson writes with a deep understanding of life’s central questions. With this novel, he positions himself as one of the leading novelists in today’s Norway.”

Dag og Tid

“Beautiful novelistic art.”


Jens M. Johansson

Jens m. johansson portrett
Photo: Selma Kolberg Johansson

JENS M. JOHANSSON (b. 1971) is an award-winning author and journalist. He debuted as a short story writer in 2002, and has since released five novels and several non-fiction books. His book “A Good Life”, published in 2016, was praised by several critics as one of the best books of the year. Johansson has been translated into several languages. He lives in Oslo with his wife and two children. No dog.

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