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  • Published: 16 July 2020
  • ISBN: 9781473561793
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

The Family Clause

An addictive novel about contemporary parenthood, which perfectly sums up the intensity and complexity of modern family life: falling in love, being a parent, being a child, and being an outsider.

*Finalist for the US National Book Award in Translated Literature*An addictive novel about contemporary parenthood and modern family life. 'A beautiful study of familial need and mess...insightful till it hurts.' Nikita Lalwani

'Bold and remarkable...full of heart and compassion.' Dinaw Mengestu

A grandfather returns home from abroad to visit his adult children. The son is a failure. The daughter is having a baby with the wrong man. Only the grandfather, the proud patriarch, is perfect - at least, according to himself.

Over the course of ten intense days, the relationships of this chaotic and entirely normal family unfold and painful memories resurface. Something has to give. But the son is duty-bound to his father through an arrangement they call 'the father clause'. Can it be renegotiated, or will it bind everyone to the past forever?

In The Family Clause, multi-award-winning writer Jonas Hassen Khemiri has created a tender, funny and bruising novel about what it means to be a good parent, the difficulty of understanding those closest to us, and how it sometimes takes courage just to stick around. An ode to families, their dynamics, their boundaries and their silences, in all their messy glory, it reveals one of the real challenges in life: how to stop your family defining your destiny.

  • Published: 16 July 2020
  • ISBN: 9781473561793
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

About the author

Jonas Hassen Khemiri

Jonas Hassen Khemiri is the author of five novels, six plays and a collection of plays, essays and short stories. Among his many honours are the August Prize, the highest literary award for Swedish literature; the Per Olov Enquist Literary Prize; the Borås Tidning Award for Best Literary Debut Novel; and an Obie Award. His novels have been translated into more than thirty languages, and his plays have been performed by more than one hundred companies around the world. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden.

Praise for The Family Clause

A beautiful study of familial need and mess, in which the universal and the particular play footsie with each other. Deft, artful, but above all insightful till it hurts, this is Khemiri’s best yet.

Nikita Lalwani

A bold and remarkable novel - a marvel of form and imagination that is also miraculously full of heart and compassion.

Dinaw Mengestu

The Family Clause vibrates with rueful humour and quiet wisdom. The more you get to know the characters contained within it, the more you see how tremendously large Jonas Hassen Khemiri's heart must be. His redemptive vision is rare and needed in these dark times.

Joshua Furst

I was drawn into this fascinating story right from the beginning and couldn't let loose for days after I had put down The Family Clause. And now, some weeks later, I know I will never forget the grandfather, the son who is a father, the sister, or the girlfriend. They are here to stay in my mind, like those other fictional characters you never meet in real life, but who you would recognize on the street the minute you saw them. Their personalities are far from perfect, but because of that, you love them all the more for who they are.

Herman Koch

Behold the great innovator of Swedish literature, with a unique ability to fill his prose with energy and vigour.


Smart and simple, with greatness hidden in the detail, in the patterns of human behaviour that are exposed, The Family Clause is Khemiri’s best novel yet.


A rich tale, characterised by moments of real pain and flowing, beautiful language... a writer who should not be missed.

Borås Tidning

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