This is an odd little book that I am not sure whether or not I really liked. But it did have some very incredibly well done narrative tension, and I think could translate well to a certain (faithful) film version if done the right way. The story, as such there is, is about Vibeke and her son Jon. Tomorrow is Jon’s birthday, but Vibeke has forgotten. This first miscommunication sets the tone and plot for the whole novel. Vibeke begins the novel in a kind of malaise where all that she wants to do is lie in bed and read and smoke cigarettes. And at first, not quite yet knowing who “he” or even “Jon” is, it’s entirely sympathetic of a position to have. But as the narrative slowly and barely widens out we realize Jon’s situation and Vibeke’s orientation toward it. Jon decides to go out and sell raffle tickets to raise money. Independent from this and unknowingly (as in neither knows where the other is) Vibeke goes out as well and has a kind of date with a man named Tom. Vibeke thinks Jon is at home; Jon thinks Vibeke is at home, heartbreakingly, because he believes her to be baking a cake.
It’s unclear which of the two of them will end up getting into a more precarious situation. Vibeke entirely unequipped for the world out with an unknown man, or Jon, a child–better suited–but out among strangers.
The narrative tension is what works in this novel racing to whatever conclusion and possible reuniting between the characters. There are short chapters, but more so the narrative jumps back and forth from Jon to Vibeke (via an ominiscient 3rd person narrator) sometimes paragraph by paragraph.