A riveting psychological drama that challenges the way we understand others – and our own sense of self.
Mia teaches school in Denmark. Her husband, Frederik, is the charismatic headmaster of a local private school. During a vacation on Majorca, they discover that a brain tumor has started to change Frederik’s personality. As he becomes harder and harder for Mia to recognize, Mia must protect herself and their teenage son from the strange, blunted being who now lives in her husband’s body – and with whom she must share her home, her son, and her bed.
When millions of crowns at the private school turn up missing, Frederik is the obvious culprit, and Mia’s private crisis quickly draws in the entire community. Frederick’s new indifference and lack of inhibition torpedo longstanding friendships, isolating Mia and making her question who he really is. Was the tumor already at work in the years they had been so happy together? And does it excuse Frederik from fraud?
Mia enlists the help of a lawyer named Bernard, whom she met in a support group for spouses of people with brain injuries. As they prepare Frederik’s defense together, the two of them wrestle with the latest brain research, the age-old question of free will – and their growing attraction for each other. Jungersen’s graceful prose and unexpected plot twists will keep readers hooked until the very last page.
Buy You Disappear from:
“The frailties of the brain are the crux of Danish writer Christian Jungersen’s punchy and provocative novel … the difference of this tensely executed thriller is that its unreliability seems less like a literary device than a hard, biological fact.”
—Wall Street Journal
“An intelligent, at times even intellectual, novel about philosophical issues of identity and moral responsibility. … Jungersen writes brilliantly and raises knotty questions of identity.”
—Kirkus (Starred review)
“This fast-paced, well-researched literary suspense novel keeps mature adult readers of Scandinavian fiction hooked until the final page. Hoekstra’s translation is superb.”
“Good books leave an impression. Great books forever alter the way you think about what it means to be alive. You Disappear is not just a well-told story, but a dramatic recalibrating of what it means to have a mind– and a soul.”
- We’re all just bloody molecules »
Interview by Kjeld Hybel, March 2012, © Politiken. Translated by Misha Hoekstra.
- Once again, Jungersen engages our hearts and minds »
Interview by Marius Aronsen, April 2012, © Bokklubben.no. Translated by Misha Hoekstra.
- We are our brains »
Interview by Stine Charlotte Hansen, April 2013, © Fynske Medier. Translated by Misha Hoekstra.
If there’s anyone who knows how to make his characters and settings appear three-dimensional, it’s Christian Jungersen. His creations are alive! … The Exception was fantastic – but believe it or not, this one’s better.
It’s been seven years since Christian Jungersen came out with his huge bestseller, The Exception, about bullying in a group of women. My expectations were therefore sky-high when I dove into his new novel, You Disappear. The somewhat pathetic Mia must watch her husband Frederik’s personality change completely when he gets a brain tumor. No one knows how long he has been sick, and Mia must suddenly ask herself what was love, and what illness. With prose that is both moving and humorous, Jungersen gets the big questions to stand out crystal clear for the reader…. Indeed, Jungersen has an astonishing talent for getting the most intricate problems to unfold for the reader as if they were the simplest little flowers. Not only were my expectations satisfied; I sat back after reading with my mouth agape. This empathetic novel is the spring’s must-read!
Christian Jungersen has written a modern fable about the nature of morality. Do we have a soul – or is our personality merely neurons and the lit-up patches on an MRI scan? This debate acquires new dimensions in Jungersen’s hands as the author draws on the latest neurological research, especially the moral considerations it gives rise to.
For what becomes of our personal responsibility, if we’re simply the sum of some more or less successful neurological connections in our brains? You Disappear deals with the big questions: morality, responsibility, and personality. Jungersen investigates our inmost beings. The result is well worth reading and utterly thought-provoking.
Just like in his bestseller The Exception, Christian Jungersen manages to weave serious questions into a vivid narrative that’s rife with emotion. This time they have to do with free will. Do we ourselves choose who we are and how we act? Or is everything biologically determined? … The novel lives and succeeds on the strength of its strong characterization, and it is a masterstroke when Jungersen manages to integrate current philosophical questions into a recognizable, sharply drawn Danish reality.
The year’s Danish bestseller has landed.
One might well think that Christian Jungersen had his own private entrance into the female psyche. Eight years after The Exception, he has a new release with You Disappear, in which he once again lets a woman take the narrator’s role. We find ourself in a marriage between Frederik, a headmaster, and Mia, a teacher. On vacation, Frederik collapses, and he turns out to have a brain tumor. Back home, the couple tries to recover their everyday lives, but Frederik’s personality is altering, and he grows self-centered and unsympathetic.
You Disappear is a romantic drama that speaks of what was, what endures, and what’s in flux. Of the grief of losing, the wish to hang onto a notion of where your happiness lies, and then understanding your past as less rosy than you’d thought.
It makes for a riveting reading experience, in which people are fully rounded individuals whose behavior will profoundly affect you.
The style in which this entire story is narrated – of the illness and of Mia and Niklas’s dilemmas – is marvelously restrained, warm, and thoroughly infused with a discreet wonder at what it relates. There’s no hesitation or weak spots; everything’s depicted with visionary confidence and professionalism.
More than anything else, it’s this that gives the novel its great human attentiveness – and its great artistic worth.