On the surface, the Paul family are living the liberal, middle-class Scandinavian dream. Max Paul is a renowned sociologist and his wife Katriina has a well-paid job in the public sector. They live in an airy apartment in the centre of Helsinki. But look closer and the cracks start to show.
As he approaches his sixtieth birthday, the certainties of Max's life begin to dissolve. He hasn't produced any work of note for decades. His wife no longer loves him. His grown-up daughters - one in London, one in Helsinki - have problems of their own. So when a former student turned journalist shows up and offers him a seductive lifeline, Max starts down a dangerous path from which he may never find a way back.
Funny, sharp, and brilliantly truthful, Teir's debut has the feel of a big, contemporary, humane American novel, but with a distinctly Scandinavian edge.