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Everything I Don't Remember

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  6,074 ratings  ·  482 reviews
A young man dies in a car crash - accident or suicide? An unnamed writer with an agenda of his own sets out to piece together Samuel's story. Through conversations with friends, relatives and neighbours, a portrait emerges of the loving grandchild, the reluctant bureaucrat, the contrived poser, the loyal friend who would do anything for his girlfriend Laide and share every ...more
Hardcover, 306 pages
Published 2016 by Scribner (first published August 2015)
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Jim Fonseca
Jun 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
[Edited for typos Nov. 4, 219]

The main character, Samuel, has a Swedish mother and a North African father. We know in the first few pages that Samuel will die in a car accident that could be an accident or a suicide. His best friend, a huge hulky guy, decides to interview family and friends and write a book about his dead friend. The dead man’s mother will only communicate with the would-be author by email but he interviews everyone else.


Samuel feels that he has memory problems (thus the book t
Elyse  Walters
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've had great experiences with authors from I thought I'd try again.
"Everything I Don't Remember" is the ......
"Winner of the August Prize, Sweden's most prestigious Literary Honor".

The writing took some getting use to. The first 4 or 5 pages are interesting and confusing...... [interesting sentences, but no context understanding].
Then it 'clicks'. Samuel is 'already' dead at the beginning of the novel. Those first few puzzling pages, 'are' part of the puzzle -excerpts - from a v
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: augustpriset
So this is how I will remember this Sunday in May.

I woke up and had coffee and planned to spend the day with Faulkner, as it was raining and cold and generally dark and frustrating outside. I took a walk to a nearby school to vote in the EU elections (one has to do the civic duty even if it means getting soaking wet!), and on the way home, I stopped at a supermarket and bought some cinnamon buns for the family and a newspaper for myself. So far, so good.

Home again, with coffee and cinnamon bu
Jul 05, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
This book did some really interesting stuff with narrative structure and time and memory. It wasn't the sort of trippy, confusing, suspense-building storytelling I was expecting. Instead, it basically tells you everything clearly, it's just a matter of deciphering what's fact and what's fiction. And that made for a really addictive and enjoyable reading experience.

However, I didn't really care for the characters. There were some parts of the characters that I didn't like. And it was often diffi
Jun 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a cleverly formatted book! I am not sure some people will like the format, but I got used to it, and think that the formatting added to the ambiance of the book. Every chapter in the book consists of one to several paragraphs told to an interviewer by one person and then one to several paragraphs told to the interviewer by another person, and it alternates back and forth.

The inside book jacket lays out a succinct fact — that Samuel died in a car crash and it is debatable whether is was an a
Jessica Jeffers
Apr 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, fiction
Marketed as comparable to Serial, this Swedish novel examines the death of a young man named Samuel who was killed in a car crash. It’s not clear whether his death was an accident or suicide, and an unnamed writer intrigued by the story decides to interview people who knew Samuel to help shed light on if and why he might have wanted to end his own life.

The impressively structured book is set up almost as transcripts of interactions between the writer and his interview subjects, with each sectio
Book Haunt
When Samuel dies in a car crash, an unidentified writer goes in search of the truth behind his death by interviewing his friends and family. Was Samuel’s death an accident or was it suicide? We are given Samuel’s story through the writer’s interviews with Samuel’s mother, his roommate, his childhood friend and his girlfriend as they flash backwards and forwards through time.

The mother was a flighty character who was very uncooperative and did very little to forward Samuel’s story. The roommate,
Everything I Don't Remember won the August prize for best Swedish fiction book of the year in 2015. Generally, the fact that it was awarded a prize would be a clear indicator that it won't be a book for me. Not so in this instance. I can actually for once understand why this book won an award.
Everything I don't remember is about Samuel who died in a horrific car crash. Was it an accident? Was it suicide? An unnamed writer sets out to reconstruct Samuel's last day and learns a lot about the youn
I was expecting the story to be about a man whose death is ruled either a suicide or accident. About a man who fell in love and died of a broken heart.

My expectations were exceeded as it was much, much more.

It is about a man who had to jot down events in his Experience Bank because he was paranoid about not remembering.

You're luck you have such an awesome memory.
Because it means you still have him. He's not dead. He lives on. Thanks to you.

It is about a writer who had once met the man w
Oct 31, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5, rounded down.

An enigmatic novel that remains something of a mystery, even once it's finished... but that IS somewhat the point. It's not an entirely satisfying read, but since I raced through it in under 24 hours, that does say something, and I'd be interested in reading more of the author's works, especially his much lauded plays.
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This new book (2016) is an account of the tender decade we all go through from our late teens to late twenties when choices are made. The characters are a compelling mix of sweet and self-absorbed. A twist is that they are primarily children of immigrants making a life in Sweden. One character is humorously prepared at a house party to be asked, "do you feel Swedish?" These characters are definitely Swedish, but they also identify as citizens of the world. This reflects an attitude I hope points ...more
Judy D Collins
A special thank you to Atria and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

EVERYTHING I DON’T REMEMBER by Jonas Hassen Khemiri pushes all boundaries of literary fiction, similar to the hit podcast Serial a multi-ethnic cast of characters, the central plot point of a friend’s passing, and a journalist protagonist weaving together the different threads of a mystery.

Immersive and mysterious, if you loved Mary Kubica’s The Good Girl, Celeste Ng’s Everything, I Never Told You, Allens
Apr 03, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jonas Hassen Khemiri’s Everything I Don’t Remember was written as a series of interviews with those most connected to Samuel, the book’s muse, whose tragic death is neither clearly an accident nor a suicide. About identity and how a person is seen through the eyes of those around them, this book highlights who Samuel was to those closet to him in contemporary Stockholm. I think that this book did a good job of highlighting racism in Sweden, the migrant crisis, the struggle between apathy and inv ...more
Johanna Ilen
Good idea for a story, nice insights to people with immigrant background, many good things in this book.

But. The writing technique feels the same as when someone switches the tv channel every time you start to follow the plot, and this happens continuously, over and over again. I was really struggling for the first 120 pages and almost gave up. Toward the end the flow improves, but overall, this was not an enjoyable read.

(I do admit that people with better Swedish language skills might not hav
Jul 12, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
The Short Of It: What a strange and unique and ultimately unsatisfying story. If you don't mind ambiguous endings, this might be for you; otherwise, it's probably not worth it.

The Long Of It: I can't remember ever having such a tough time deciding on a rating for a book, but "Everything I Don't Remember" is not like any other book I've read.

Samuel, a young Swedish man, dies in a terrible car wreck, and the novel is an attempt by an unnamed writer to piece together what really happened: was it an
Ewa-lotta Neander
Very complex story structure, and it's amazing how obvious it is who is speaking - just in the wording- without tags, and the characters are fully rounded, even the ones who are only small side characters. Some writing! My problem with the story is that none of the characters are people I care about enough to know what happens to them. ...more
Frank Hestvik

Wow. The story-telling!

A nice, playful use of language, with measured humor to back it up, the book is strong in its own right, but the construction and story-telling is the real clincher.

The book consists of a series of interviews with friends, family, ex-girlfriend, et al., of the deceased Samuel. The interviewer's questions and replies are elided, all we get are various people's accounts and impressions of this somewhat eccentric young man as they remember him. Memory is a central theme of th

Jun 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While there have been any number of true crime novels that claim to be 'the next Serial' this captures what I found so fascinating in that experiment: the clash of perspectives between different people and between the same people over time, the suggestion of complete uncertainty about everything and the inability of a person to really remember anything that they should. Most mediations on the nature of memory don't open with a Rhianna quote, but 'Everything I Don't Remember' is not like most boo ...more
Sep 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
An incredibly strong novel! Samuel died in a car accident. Who was Samuel? A writer tries to write about Samuel based on interviews with friends, family, acquaintances. They all tell different versions, some conflicting. They talk about Samuel, about themselves, about each other. "Alt jeg ikke husker" is the portrait of a man, the portrait of people around that man and also a portrait of a modern and cosmopolitan society. Khemiri describes immigrants, immigrants' children and integration challen ...more
Jul 04, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Samuel dies in a car crash but was it an accident or was it suicide? An unnamed writer sets out to reconstruct Samuel's last day. We never really learn that much about Samuel because no one seems to have remembered the events in Samuel’s life in the same way. Each person has a different story to tell based on their memories. His friend and room-mate, Vandad, his ex-girlfriend, Laide, his childhood friend who liked to be called Panther, as well as Samuel's grandmother who has demetia all tell dif ...more
(Read in Swedish - Didn't understand it all)
"Allt jag inte minns" tells the story of a Samuels life from all kinds of perspectives. The narrator wants to find out why he died and interviews friends and family of Samuel in order to understand.
I read the Swedish version so I had some problems understanding who is talking - I don't know if this was a result of my poor Swedish or Khemiris writing.
Nevertheless did I enjoy this book and especially Khemiris writing. He is talented, funny and witty.
Elizabeth Scheel
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed the various "voices" in this book however found them a bit confusing at first and again at the end. So much so, that I had to re-read various parts a couple times. Overall a good read, however! ...more
Alan Teder
Memory Mystery
Review of the Washington Square Press paperback (2018) translated from the Swedish original Allt jag inte minns (2015)

Everything I Don’t Remember is a challenging read due to the manner of its presentation by a fictional version of the author Khemiri himself. He is investigating the apparent suicide of a 24-year-old named Samuel by questioning an ex-roommate Vandad, an ex-girlfriend Laide, an artist friend nick-named Panther, Samuel’s mother and grandmother, a neighbour of the gran
Sep 23, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As you read, you keep thinking, this is going to be good, there is a mysterious, surprise end to it and it just ends. Clever, maybe too clever.
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
My reading slump is finally over! Thank you Heaven and thank you Jonas Hassen Khemiri.

A smash-hit in its native Sweden, winning the August Prize for Best novel of 2015, Everything I Don't Remember is the heart-wrenching story of Samuel. Told from the perspectives of multiple people who knew the now-deceased youngster, who died in a tragic car crash, this book pieces together a puzzle of unreliable narration and beautiful, simple prose.

Samuel has died, and nobody knows whether it was suicide or a
Mar 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scandinavian
One of those books where there are difficulties ahead, but the story is so compelling that you persevere. First, the good: great use of slang in modern Svenska, a peak into societal issues while still being firmly rooted in the characters and never feeling preachy, and a breakdown/send-up of the Swedish "deckare" or murder mystery that is so commonly the only kind of book that can be published in Sweden these days. It takes the genre and twists it so much that you hardly realize it's even in the ...more
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been meaning to read this book ever since it came out, because it just sounded so amazing and I absolutely love Jonas Hassen Khemiri, both as a person and an author. This book, however, totally exceeded my expecations.

This book basically tells the story of Samuel who died in a car crash, through multiple perspectives at the same time. We get to hear his mother, his ex, his best friend, and a lot of other people who knew him and they all have a different idea of what happened. Not gonna lie,
Hannah Treasure
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The narration of this story is genius. The author even writes himself in and it somehow doesn't feel indulgent, it feels genuine, even. When a character first mentions "you" (referring to the writer) I actually got chills (which yes I recognize is ridiculously nerdy!). There is no indication other than a small dash that the speaker has changed, so it is up to the reader to figure out who is narrating at all times. This only strengthens the book's central theme of memory: who remembered what, how ...more
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit, this book started off as quite the challenge. The setup and dialogue were so unlike anything I’d read before that it took me bit to really catch on. Once I was able to navigate that, I was hooked. The characters were well thought out, and even though they were not named at the beginning of each section, the writing had a tone unique to each individual that made each piece easily discernible. What most fascinated me was the interplay between the character’s perspectives. It so ef ...more
Anne Goodwin
Opening with very short (single sentence developing to single paragraph) fragments from the interview with his grandmother’s neighbour interspersed with those from Samuel’s best friend, Vandad, the novel is initially challenging. But I was soon seduced by the mixture of humour and deft observation to adjust to the style. A particular pleasure of the structure was in the unfolding of opposing perspectives on Samuel’s life and character, particularly in the middle section contrasting the accounts ...more
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Jonas Hassen Khemiri, born in 1978, has a Tunisian father and a Swedish mother. He grew up in Stockholm, has studied economics in Paris and been an intern at the UN in New York.
He made a celebrated debut in 2003 with Ett öga rött/One Eye Red, which has sold over 200,000 copies in Sweden and became the best-selling paperback of any category in 2004. For Ett öga rött/One Eye Red Jonas Hassen Khemir

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40 likes · 6 comments
“[...] och det var snarare det som gjorde honom desperat, att han insåg att det gick att gå vidare, att det inte var något av det som hade varit så stort som var stort nog att han skulle minnas det på riktigt [...]” 4 likes
“Dom höll varandras händer. Dom hade samma svarta hårfärg. Dom sprang i takt med varandra fast den ena sprang med knäna högt som en gasell (Laide) och den andra sprang som om han inte ville att kroppen skulle lämna marken (Samuel). Det finns få saker som är så svåra som att springa och hålla varandras händer och jag minns att när jag säg det så tänkte jag: Okej. Dom kanske är menade för varandra. Det kanske bara är att acceptera. Jag kanske har haft fel.” 4 likes
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