Those Who Stay


”Some of us are broken by staying, others by going, and then there’s me: I don’t know which one I am.” Frida’s father was a man who looked like Leonard Cohen. During her childhood, he used to play records for her. Then he disappeared, first into the recesses of his mind, then completely. What he left behind were the songs: ”Suzanne”, ”I’m Your Man”, ”Take This Waltz”. They’re the fragments from which the adult Frida tries to put her father back together. Frida’s grandfather, Poju, was one of those who always walked out and moved on. In the post-war decades, Poju travelled the world, marrying one woman after the other, leaving the ruins of families in his wake. The restlessness of her family’s men lives on in thirty-year-old Frida, but she wants no part of their sad history. Could it be possible to start the story over again? The novel meanders from 1920s Helsinki to the US and Mexico of the ‘50s, and from smoggy Hong Kong towards the present day, where Frida hears the songs of her childhood once again.