True: a Novel
It's the start of a luminous Scandinavian summer, and Elsa the matriarch of an eminent Helsinki family, is dying. Her family members gather around to support her, but their hidden struggles come, too. There's Elsa's granddaughter Anna, lost in her own world and concealing an unhappy affair that will not heal; Martti, Elsa's loving husband, whose dreams are haunted by the spectre of another woman; and Elsa's adult daughter Eleonoora, anxiously trying to deal with her mother's illness. As Elsa's existence becomes more fragile, the anchors of Eleonoora's childhood memories begin to slip away, and the foundations upon which the family has built its life for forty years start to shift. One afternoon, Anna discovers a secret that goes to the very heart of her family – a secret that takes her back to the restlessness and change of the 1930s, a Europe in the throes of a social revolution, and a stranger named Eeva who entered her family's lives, changing them forever. As Eeva's story unfolds, Anna discovers a young woman who mirrors herself in many ways, and whose life illustrates both the danger of giving oneself up too completely to love and the necessity of doing so in order to truly live. Enthralling and beautifully drawn, True charts the experience of three generations as they try to come to terms with a memory long repressed, and explores the mercy and tenderness that can come from life. Ultimately it asks: when we can never really know the people we love, how do we try to be true?
'A haunting, mesmerizingly written novel . . . So shatteringly good, I felt stunned.' – Caroline Leavitt, bestselling author of Pictures of You