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The Deal of a Lifetime


The Deal of a Lifetime

Christmas Eve: It’s a special time, everyone would agree. And a father has a special story for his adult son. He hasn’t seen him in a while, and now it will be even longer until he sees him again. By Christmas morning, the father will be gone, for he has taken a life. The story he wants to tell his son he hopes will explain everything, but it seems unlikely.

This man has been in the hospital for some time. There, he has watched a five-year-old girl battling cancer. She passes her days, knowing the disease that has invaded her body will take her away soon. But she is very brave, putting on an act mostly for her mother, who pretends that her little girl can beat the cancer. The man also has cancer, although a different type, and understands how slim her chances are. Her courage amazes him, and he finds that it hurts to watch her going through so much, especially at such a young age. He can literally see death lurking at her bedside, waiting to take her. He knows it will come for him too, but he has had a life. Maybe not a very good life, but a full and successful one.

"This (dimensionally) tiny book comes packed with huge emotion. Readers will speed through it in under two hours, then spend the rest of the day --- at least --- pondering the astonishing ideas it unleashes."

The man never lived like normal people. That’s not what he wanted. His focus was on achieving fame, becoming the top at his game and staying there. Because of who he is, he will be missed by many. The little girl will be missed by only a few. It doesn’t seem fair, but then life isn’t fair. The man has faced death many times, just not his own. Until now. Death has taken too many of his loved ones, so he knows its pain. He is not the kind, though, to feel pity for the girl’s mother, or worry about the hole the child’s loss will leave. He never lived for happiness, so their happiness is of little concern to him. He lived to succeed, and he didn’t need people for that --- just his own raw abilities.

But maybe, just maybe, he now wishes he had been more like other people. Maybe he wishes he had been closer to his son. Maybe he wishes his son had had more influence on him. They did not share outlooks, attitudes or ambitions. The father was often away, striving for bigger and better things, not wanting to be bound by the ties of family life.

The cancer now invading his body --- and possibly the five-year-old child and her own impending death --- has made him rethink his life. What if? So here he is now, explaining it all to his sleeping son, who will awaken on Christmas Day and probably not understand why he has taken the life that he has. And he has to ask himself: Was it worth it?

This (dimensionally) tiny book comes packed with huge emotion. Readers will speed through it in under two hours, then spend the rest of the day --- at least --- pondering the astonishing ideas it unleashes. THE DEAL OF A LIFETIME quite literally will grab you from the start and set you off in a host of incredible directions. Fredrik Backman has a wonderful ability to reach deep inside his readers, pull out feelings they didn’t know they had, and set their minds spinning. What a blockbuster!

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on November 3, 2017

The Deal of a Lifetime
by Fredrik Backman

  • Publication Date: October 31, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Holiday, Novella
  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • ISBN-10: 150119349X
  • ISBN-13: 9781501193491