Close cookie details

This site uses cookies. Learn more about cookies.

OverDrive would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to improve your user experience at our Website. One of the cookies we use is critical for certain aspects of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but this could affect certain features or services of the site. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, click here to see our Privacy Policy.

If you do not wish to continue, please click here to exit this site.

Hide notification

  Main Nav
The Family Clause
Cover of The Family Clause
The Family Clause
A Novel
Borrow Borrow Borrow

"The son did as he was told. All his bloody life, he has done as he has been told. Time to change that, he thinks, grabbing a pen. He doesn't write that this will be the last time his father stays here. He doesn't write that he wants to break the father clause. Instead, he writes: Welcome, Dad. Hope you had a good flight."
A grandfather who lives abroad returns home to visit his adult children. The son is a failure. The daughter is having a baby with the wrong man. Only the grandfather is perfect—at least, according to himself.
But over the course of ten intense days, relationships unfold and painful memories resurface. The grandfather is confronted by his past. The daughter is faced with an impossible choice. The son tries to write himself free. Something has to give. Per a longstanding family agreement, the grandfather has maintained his Swedish residency by coming to stay with his son every six months. Can this clause be renegotiated, or will it chain the family to its past forever?
Through a series of quickly changing perspectives, in The Family Clause Jonas Hassen Khemiri evokes an intimate portrait of a chaotic and perfectly normal family, deeply wounded by the death of a child and the disappearance of a father.

"The son did as he was told. All his bloody life, he has done as he has been told. Time to change that, he thinks, grabbing a pen. He doesn't write that this will be the last time his father stays here. He doesn't write that he wants to break the father clause. Instead, he writes: Welcome, Dad. Hope you had a good flight."
A grandfather who lives abroad returns home to visit his adult children. The son is a failure. The daughter is having a baby with the wrong man. Only the grandfather is perfect—at least, according to himself.
But over the course of ten intense days, relationships unfold and painful memories resurface. The grandfather is confronted by his past. The daughter is faced with an impossible choice. The son tries to write himself free. Something has to give. Per a longstanding family agreement, the grandfather has maintained his Swedish residency by coming to stay with his son every six months. Can this clause be renegotiated, or will it chain the family to its past forever?
Through a series of quickly changing perspectives, in The Family Clause Jonas Hassen Khemiri evokes an intimate portrait of a chaotic and perfectly normal family, deeply wounded by the death of a child and the disappearance of a father.

Available formats-
  • Kindle Book
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Subjects-
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:

Recommended for you

 
Awards-
About the Author-
  • Jonas Hassen Khemiri is the author of novels (including Everything I Don't Remember and Montecore), plays (such as I Call My Brothers), and a collection of plays, essays, and short stories (Invasion!). Among his many honors are the August Prize, the highest literary award for Swedish literature; the 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.
Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    April 1, 2020
    A patriarch's visit to his adult children triggers some lingering stresses and pushes everyone to a breaking point. Khemiri's fifth novel and third to be translated into English tracks 10 emotionally stressful days in the life of one family in Stockholm. Twice a year the "grandfather" (characters are identified solely by their familial roles) comes to the city to visit his son and daughter, but his arrival is treated like that of a coming storm. He's casually bigoted, critical of nearly everyone he interacts with, and his visits seem less loving than strategic: His son maintains a flat for him to stay in so he can claim Swedish residency and dodge taxes in his (unnamed) home country. The son is thinking of breaking this "father clause," but he's long been timid and indecisive and is now ground down as a stay-at-home dad to a 4-year-old and a 1-year-old. (There are multiple attenuated scenes of him stressfully prepping the tots for the day; true to Scandinavian literary fiction standards, bowel movements are prominent.) Nearby, the daughter, who's pregnant, is having second thoughts about her boyfriend, a know-it-all film buff stuck in a job as a PE teacher. The son has spent years uncertain about his career direction (on this tumultuous week he's giving stand-up comedy a try), and a prominent theme in the novel is men's need for approval from their fathers and the various ways they suffer from that need. Khemiri's shifting perspectives across characters (including, at one point, that of a ghost) effectively conjure up a mood of dread, which intensifies as we learn more about the grandfather's third child and the circumstances of her death. But the novel's climactic plot turns are mild in comparison to the foreboding tone that precedes them; the concluding feeling is less of things coming to a head than a general muddling through. An original and psychologically rich tale in need of a bit of some drama to match.

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 13, 2020
    Khemiri (Everything I Don’t Remember) repeats phrases, assembles lists, and stacks up a family’s disappointments in this surprisingly satisfying novel set over the course of a single week. A man, referred to as “a son who is a father,” threatens to revoke the Father Clause, a family agreement allowing his “father who is a grandfather” to stay in the small family-owned apartment in Stockholm whenever he is in town. The father is too critical of his son, too stingy, and too messy, and his overburdened son doesn’t want him there—he has bigger problems. His girlfriend, the mother of their children, has gone back to work as a lawyer, leaving him to care for their two needy children as his self-esteem dips into the red. The father is less demanding of his daughter, the man’s sister, but he doesn’t know about her personal struggles, such as the fact that she’s pregnant and her boyfriend disagrees with her decision to have an abortion. The novel’s wordiness and gymnastically vague details will likely wear on readers, but Khemiri succeeds at creating an infectious sense of melancholia as the poisonous patriarch is forced to reckon with the truth. In a slow build of quotidian moments, Khemiri constructs a familiarly flawed universe that lays bare what it means to be human.

  • Booklist

    August 1, 2020
    For visa reasons, a "grandfather who is a father" returns to Sweden from the country where he lives for a week or so every six months, staying in the office-turned-guest-apartment of his "son who is a father." Otherwise unnamed, characters are all described this way throughout this multiperspective novel, which draws in the son's sister, girlfriend, and young children over the course of the grandfather's visit. Strung together, engrossing, minute-by-minute passages become layered, and character arcs grows steeper by degrees. Raising two small children, the son and his girlfriend need more generosity from each other than either is getting. His sister, meanwhile, is not sure she can be a mom again. Their father reveals his complicated nature early, which paves the way to understanding his children and the turns their lives have taken as parents and otherwise. Depicting his characters' perceptions of one another, and themselves, Khemiri (Everything I Don't Remember, 2016) points to universal truths: in this and any family, roles change over time, and, with any luck, so do the people in them.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

  • Annie Bostrom, Booklist

    "Strung together, engrossing, minute-by-minute passages become layered, and character arcs grows steeper by degrees . . . Depicting his characters' perceptions of one another, and themselves, Khemiri (Everything I Don't Remember, 2016) points to universal truths: in this and any family, roles change over time, and, with any luck, so do the people in them."

  • Publishers Weekly "Satisfying . . . Khemiri succeeds at creating an infectious sense of melancholia as the poisonous patriarch is forced to reckon with the truth. In a slow build of quotidian moments, Khemiri constructs a familiarly flawed universe that lays bare what it means to be human."
  • Dinaw Mengestu, author of All Our Names "Jonas Hassen Khemiri's The Family Clause is a bold and remarkable novel--a marvel of form and imagination that is also miraculously full of heart and compassion."
  • Herman Koch, author of The Dinner "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."
Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Kindle Book
    Release date:
  • OverDrive Read
    Release date:
  • EPUB eBook
    Release date:
Digital Rights Information+
  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

Status bar:

You've reached your checkout limit.

Visit your Checkouts page to manage your titles.

Close

You already have this title checked out.

Want to go to your Checkouts?

Close

Recommendation Limit Reached.

You've reached the maximum number of titles you can recommend at this time. You can recommend up to 99 titles every 1 day(s).

Close

Sign in to recommend this title.

Recommend your library consider adding this title to the Digital Collection.

Close

Enhanced Details

Close
Close

Limited availability

Availability can change throughout the month based on the library's budget.

is available for days.

Once playback starts, you have hours to view the title.

Close

Permissions

Close

The OverDrive Read format of this eBook has professional narration that plays while you read in your browser. Learn more here.

Close

Holds

Total holds:


Close

Restricted

Some format options have been disabled. You may see additional download options outside of this network.

Close

MP3 audiobooks are only supported on macOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) through 10.14 (Mojave). Learn more about MP3 audiobook support on Macs.

Close

Please update to the latest version of the OverDrive app to stream videos.

Close

You've reached your library's checkout limit for digital titles.

To make room for more checkouts, you may be able to return titles from your Checkouts page.

Close

Excessive Checkout Limit Reached.

There have been too many titles checked out and returned by your account within a short period of time.

Try again in several days. If you are still not able to check out titles after 7 days, please contact Support.

Close

You have already checked out this title. To access it, return to your Checkouts page.

Close

This title is not available for your card type. If you think this is an error contact support.

Close

An unexpected error has occurred.

If this problem persists, please contact support.

Close

Close

NOTE: Barnes and Noble® may change this list of devices at any time.

Close
Buy it now
and help our library WIN!
The Family Clause
The Family Clause
A Novel
Jonas Hassen Khemiri
Choose a retail partner below to buy this title for yourself.
A portion of this purchase goes to support your library.
Clicking on the 'Buy It Now' link will cause you to leave the library download platform website. The content of the retail website is not controlled by the library. Please be aware that the website does not have the same privacy policy as the library or its service providers.
Close
Close

There are no copies of this issue left to borrow. Please try to borrow this title again when a new issue is released.

Close
Barnes & Noble Sign In |   Sign In

You will be prompted to sign into your library account on the next page.

If this is your first time selecting “Send to NOOK,” you will then be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

The first time you select “Send to NOOK,” you will be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

You can read periodicals on any NOOK tablet or in the free NOOK reading app for iOS, Android or Windows 8.

Accept to ContinueCancel