Such Good Work
Jonas Anderson wants a fresh start.
He’s made plenty of bad decisions in his life, and at age twenty-eight he’s been fired from yet another teaching position after assigning homework like, Visit a stranger’s funeral and write about it. But, he’s sure a move to Sweden, the country of his mother’s birth, will be just the thing to kick-start a new and improved — and newly sober — Jonas.
When he arrives in Malmo in 2015, the city is struggling with the influx of tens of thousands of Middle Eastern refugees. Driven by an existential need to “do good,” Jonas begins volunteering with an organization that teaches Swedish to young migrants. The connections he makes there, and one student in particular, might send him down the right path toward fulfillment — if he could just get out of his own way.
Such Good Work is a darkly comic novel, brought to life with funny, wry observations and searing questions about our modern world, told with equal measures of grace and wit.
Author: Johannes Lichtman | Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Big thank you to Simon & Schuster for sending me a review copy of this book! It will be published on 2/5/19.
Such Good Work was really, really good. Lichtman's writing is introspectively profound and yet straightforward and simple. It made for a lot of underlined passages and a hard-hitting story. There's also some sort of story-ception going on here, which was a delightful surprise and still has me mulling this whole thing over.
I wish I could share some quotes with you, but I read an advanced uncorrected proof, so I don't have the final. But I'm telling you — so many great passages.
The story follows a man named Jonas. He's a writer, adjunct professor, and recovering addict. He struggles to feel comfortable in his own skin and in the world at large, and he struggles with his addiction. He decides to move to Sweden, where he's a citizen thanks to his Swedish mother, and searches for himself and a way to feel like he's doing something important. He finds his way to a group that helps young refugee boys learn to speak Swedish.
This book is not too long; 300 pages or so. I read it in two days. Lichtman's style is probably my favorite to read, I can tell it's going to be one of those books that just stays with me — the words are going to bounce around in my head, and I'm going to think about it often.