The Road North


Vera and Iris were inseparable as children, growing up as neighbours in Stockholm.

Now, on the threshold of adulthood, a chance encounter reunites the two young women after years apart. Following an alcohol-fuelled conversation in a deserted playground at night, the pair resolve to deal with both their futures and the enemy of the past.

They steal a car and embark on a road trip to the north; the destination, a place where they had spent their childhood summers. A place where something unresolved happened, something that had separated them. Feeling the rush of their new-found freedom, Vera and Iris are also faced with the question: who have they become? And is it possible to save something that was once lost?

The Road Up North is Emma Holm’s debut novel that has received rave reviews in Sweden. An elegant and explosively emotional story about friendship, guilt, sexuality – and revenge.



Original title


English extract

As above

Year of publication


Original publisher

Originally published in Swedish by Modernista

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  • Katapult Prize for best debut novel 2017


“A bridge between the sensual melancholia of Lost in Translation and the road trip angst of Thelma & Louise, with the occasional touch of David Lynch's surrealist discomfort.”
“A promising authorship begins with the smell of gasoline.”
Sydsvenska Dagbladet
“Spicy, unsentimental and skilful without boasting.”
Borås News
“There is a sense of timelessness. ”
Dagens Nyheter
“You just want to keep on reading.”
Hannele’s Book Paradise blog
Book of the month in October: "Bright and beautiful with wonderful language!” Rating 5 out of 5
Jenny's Book List blog
“Unsentimental and linguistically skilful debut novel about childhood and adulthood, friendship and vulnerability."
Borås News
“I’m very much looking forward to Holm's future works, as I'm more than convinced that a great author has been born."
Aftonbladet Culture
“Her tone and feel for crucial details are real."
Svenska Dagbladet
“In The Road North, Emma Holm offers details and delicate language that captures the feeling of including all ages in it. And she does this in a way that makes me want more. “