FICTION

A Question Mark Is Half a Heart

Houghton Harcourt. Mar. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781328473028. $25.;. F
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On the outside, Elin Boals has the perfect life. After escaping a childhood of poverty in Sweden, she forged a career as a successful and sought-after photographer living in New York City, and built a loving family. But all is not as it appears. Elin’s career doesn’t fulfill her anymore; her husband, Sam, is fed up with her never being present physically or emotionally; and she and her teenage daughter, Alice, are usually at odds about one thing or another. She has also kept monumental secrets about her past from Sam and Alice. When she receives a mysterious piece of mail, memories both good and bad from her life in Sweden come roaring back, further threatening her strained work and family situations, as well as her psychological well-being.
VERDICT Lundberg’s sophomore work (after The Red Address Book) deftly and sensitively tells Elin’s past and present life stories in the ever-popular alternating chapter format. She builds Elin’s story slowly, but once the OMG moment hits, readers will turn the pages as if they are burning. For fans of narratives about conflicted and tormented heroines trying to make peace with their pasts.

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