Johan has sometimes been fortunate but never particularly successful: he lost his job for a breach of professional integrity, and he and his son haven’t spoken in eight years. His greatest happiness–his grace–is his competent, confident wife Mai, who loves him unreservedly. Now, with six months to live, and with Mai’s help, he intends to die well. But as he broods on the pleasures and regrets of his life, and death slowly envelops him, Johan’s resolution begins to waver. Morally intricate and full of sly humor, Grace is a touching and unexpectedly dramatic exploration of the territory between life and death.
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When, after an awkward pause, the young doctor delivered the latest diagnosis and began somewhat perfunctorily to describe the various treatment options, never really attempting to hide his certainty that this miserable thing would ultimately kill my friend Johan Sletten, Johan closed his eyes and thought of Mai's...Read More
“Slim but by no means slight . . . A delicate, haunting portrait . . . Consistently absorbing . . . An elegant stylist with an original voice (and a top-notch translator, Barbara Haveland), Ullmann is especially good at capturing moments of poignancy, often with a trace of gallows humor.” –Bruce Bawer, The New York Times Book Review“A powerful affirmation of the haunting beauty of ordinary human life and death.” –Washington Post Book World“Provocative . . . immensely compelling. Ullmann has an extraordinary talent for exploring relationships between people in love.” —The Baltimore Sun“A work of stunning emotional magnitude . . . Ullmann writes with a wondrously light, deft touch . . . Her pared-down portraits result in real characters who carry all the true-life weight of self-doubt and inner purpose . . . Very moving.”–Kirkus Reviews“Wonderful and chilling . . . Wrenching in its straight-ahead simplicity, lucid in its smooth, elegant translation, Ullmann’s novel resonates with a reader’s inner, subliminal fears of deterioration in the face of death.”–Booklist“Ullmann’s novel is brief, and her style sparse, but the tale is weighty and compelling.”–Library Journal