In Every Moment We Are Still Alive

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Mar 2018

Member Reviews

Given the subject matter of this book, I was surprised to find the writing lacking emotion. The writing feels fragmented/choppy so I had a difficult time connecting with this book.
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This is a book that I think I'm going to remember for a long time after reading, and I mean that in a really good way!
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A wonderful book that made me cry... the formatting made it a bit hard to read, though. Unfortunately I need quotation marks; perhaps that makes me pedestrian.
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Unfortunately, I was not able to read this book because of issues downloading it.
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This was a personal read as our own daughter delivered twins during the time I was reading this.   I read with the perspective of the parents of Tom and Karin and my heart broke for all.  Once in a great while a book comes along I purchase even though I have been sent an advance copy.  This story of resilience and not just for the main characters is one of them.
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See note to publisher. The program wouldn't let me send this without a star rating...
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In Every Moment We Are Still Alive by Tom Malmquist is a heartbreaking memoir of love, loss, and grief.

I enjoyed reading this memoir. It is an intimate portrait of Tom’s life as he deals with the loss of his partner in life, Karin, days after the birth of their daughter, Livia. Parts of it were hard to read. It’s always difficult to read the passing of someone so young, especially when it happens so suddenly and dramatically. And to have a newborn infant on top of it is utterly heartbreaking. Livia will never know her mother, but Tom seems to step it up as a single parent in the midst of the devastation as best as he can.

The writing style was admittedly hard to get used to. There are no chapters or divisions in the memoir. It has the rambling free-flowing style of a long poem, which makes sense, because the author is a poet. The writing style is very much stream of consciousness. It’s disjointed and jumps from past to present from one paragraph to the next. On one hand, the disorganized timeline made it hard to read. On the other hand, it was a firsthand look at how fragmented the mind can be when under strain, stress, and grief. The presentation was very raw.

The pacing of the book was quick. I read this book in two days and could have easily read it in a single sitting, had I the time. I appreciated the swiftness of the story. The events unfolded quickly and kept you interested all the way through.

I would say the memoir is an insightful study of grief and stress. Being a new parent is hard enough. Getting thrown into single-parenthood because your significant other passed away unexpectedly is a whole different level of stress. I have nothing but praise and respect for Tom and how he managed to pull through in such a tough situation.

If you like memoirs, check into this one. While I struggled with the way it was written, I still enjoyed it.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing the Kindle version of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This review will be posted on my blog on 3/28/2018:
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This book was very good. I read it in 2 days. Love the Author. Only gets better. Run...to buy this book. Highly recommend!!!
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Tom Malmquist is a poet which becomes immediately apparent. There is not a word wasted nor does Malmquist waste any time in pulling readers into the pain that is to become Tom's life. From the moment the consultant stamps down the wheel lock of Karin's hospital bed in the opening sentence to the moment he leaves his daughter off a preschool alone for the first time, Malmquist makes readers feel every moment of the balancing act that Tom's life becomes in a moment.

Because the book is more memoir than work of fiction, the pain feels so much more palpable. It's hard to read the vivid details of Karin's rapid decline, the agony of her parents who are kept, inexplicably, away from her deathbed, the mad pinball existence Tom lives as he watches his wife die and his premature daughter grow, and the terror he feels knowing he will be left to raise her on his own. But all of that is not where his sorrow ends because, just months after Karin dies, Tom must deal with the death of his father, a man he has had a complicated relationship with all of his life.

Although the book is only 240 pages long, so much is packed into it, and it is so intense, that it feels like a much longer book. But it is not just all of that pain that makes it read that way, it is also the style of Malmquist's writing. The book moves back and forth in time, allowing readers to visit Karin and Tom as they meet and become a couple. But that can be extremely jarring at times as it usually happens without a break in the writing. Also, be forewarned, those of you who must have quotation marks in your books, there are none here. Not only that but whole conversations are often lumped into a single paragraph. I often found myself re-reading passages to make sure I understood who was talking.

When the book moved into Tom's relationship with his father and his father's death, the back and forth in time became even more complicated and hard to follow. For me, it also overwhelmed the story, although, it retrospect, it seems it was important to understand Tom's relationship with his father to understand his fears about being a father himself.

The longer I've blogged, the less often I find myself taking chances on books, which is a shame. Because without doing that, I would not have discovered this book. Despite it being a tough read, it's a book I'm very glad to have read.
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Thanks to NetGalley, Melville House and Tom Malmquist for the opportunity to read and review this book.

This is a fictionalized autobiographical novel telling the story of Tom as he struggles with the grief of losing his partner.  Karin is pregnant with their child when she is rushed to the doctor with breathing issues.  Thinking it was pneumonia, Tom was shocked when they discovered she had leukemia.  After an emergency C-section, Livia is born but Karin succumbs to her disease.  This book tells of the time afterwards as Tom alternately struggles with his grief while trying to figure out how to be a single dad to Livia.

While the writing is beautiful which is no surprise seeing as Tom is a poet, I struggled mightily with the formatting of the writing in this book.  There are no quotation marks to delineate who is talking to whom with long paragraphs with no breaks in conversation or sometimes even time period.  The book goes back over the start of Tom and Karin's relationship as well as showing how Tom is dealing with his new life.

I thought all along it was a memoir and was surprised to see it classified as a fictionalized autobiographical novel - was also confused as to why it wasn't written as a memoir.
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Heartbreaking from the first paragraph, we follow Tom as he struggles to come to terms, first with the seriousness of his partner Karin's sudden illness and quick decline, and the early birth of their daughter, Livia. Told in a reporter-like manner, those who have spent much time in hospitals with loved ones will recognize, and not judge, the numb reporting of the current status. Sometimes, it's the only way to make it through the emotional devastation as we try to take in what the doctors are saying, and translate it into what their words really mean.

After Karin succumbs, Tom is faced with the realization of what it will be like to raise their daughter alone, as a single parent, and the soon to follow loss of his father, who succumbs to cancer. It is all so much to bear. Where is the sense of it? How can the rest of the world be carrying on as if none of this had happened?

I did not realize until after I was partway through the book that this was, in fact, a non-fiction book; the characterization of the author's own devastating experience. Yet, somehow, he is able to share his experience with us; in words that made me cry, made me angry, yet also made me realize the oneness of the human experience; the universality of grief, and darkness; of trying to pick up the pieces and move on. The title he chose for his book In Every Moment We Are Still Alive is brilliant and says it all. I commend him, and thank him, for being able to share such an intimate look at his grief. 

Many thanks to NetGalley and Melville House for allowing me to read an e-copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own.
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Tom's very pregnant girlfriend Karin takes a quick turn for the worse and they end up in the hospital.  Tom must make medical decisions for both his dying girlfriend and his premature baby girl and live with the outcomes as they come.

This book has an editorial thing that drives me batty!  It has no punctuation when it comes to dialogue and for me that makes it harder to read and overall a frustrating experience.  I wish that there was a standard that all books had to have to allow for all people to have an easy reading experience.

Maybe because this book is set in Stockholm and I am not familiar with the culture there, but on almost every page I wanted to smack Tom.  For being a husband going through an extremely difficult situation he was so rude and offputting to all the medical staff.  I just couldn't handle his attitude towards all of the nurses and doctors, I wanted him to get his stuff together and act better.

All in all I just couldn't get around this book.  The premise was right up my alley, but between the lack of punctuation and Tom as a character, I just couldn't.
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Pregnancy and childbirth are among the most intense experiences in life.  Swedish author, Tom Malmquist, has written a fictional autobiography about his longtime partner of ten years, Karin, who becomes gravely ill, delivers their baby prematurely, and leaves Tom to deal with life as she fights for her life in a hospital bed. 

The format of the book resembles what Tom's mind must have looked like in all those hours in the hospital and then at home.  The story goes backward and forwards without quotation marks or often, paragraph brakes.  The author is experiencing every worst nightmare scenario most people dread.  In his path, Tom recalls moments when the couple first met, what Karen looks like, how she smells, everything about her.  Karin tells Tom she wants their baby girl to be named Livia and from that moment Tom becomes the sole parent of Livia.  

The premature baby must remain in the hospital for about four weeks and Tom is given a family room where he sleeps.  Karin is moved to another wing of the hospital and Tom goes back and forth through underground tunnels to reach Karin and go back to care for Livia.  Karin made Tom promise that their birth experience would be solely theirs so in keeping with her wishes, he limits her parent's access to Karin and must also deal with his parents.  Tom's father has been struggling with stomach cancer for ten years and all this plays out in the story Tom tells of his life and the life of his baby girl, Livia.

The situation is horrific, a tragedy that would take some imagination to think up.  The author lived it, complete with government bureaucracy unable to give Livia her full name because Tom and Karin were not married.  I can understand why this book was nominated for numerous awards in Sweden.  The story is hard to read but if any of us have had our worst nightmares come true in real life, we read with empathy and respect for the author and his family.

Thank you to NetGalley and Melville House Publishing for the opportunity to read the e-ARC of this book to be published in the USA on January 30. 2018.
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DNF

Unfortunately I didn’t finish the book. I got to about 24% in and I couldn’t continue. I don’t give bad reviews lightly and I did want to continue reading to give the author credit for their work. 

The format of the book was very off putting- no paragraphs, no chapters, no speech marks. I could overlook this however for the story. Yet the story didn’t grasp me. 

The writing was very disjointed to me. Very to the point and 2D. For example a conversation with a nurse...

“Hi,come in, I should tell you right away that Karin is bleeding from her vagina after the C-section...” 

I understand the complications from such a surgery but I’m positive that a nurse would be a little more graceful with her words. I just didn’t find it believable. I felt like the characters needed to be fleshed out more. 

Very good idea for a book, it just wasn’t executed well.
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I just couldn't get into the book. I think it was the style it was written in, big long paragraphs with no quotes or line changes for dialogue. It made it difficult sometimes to tell who was talking. I also found some of the transitions choppy. It would be a little later in the story and I wouldn't get what was going on. I would look back to make sure I didn't skip something so I would know how the character got to the new point in the story, but it would turn out that I didn't miss something. Perhaps the final copy will have some ellipses or a page break or something that lets the reader know that time has passed. I wonder too, if perhaps some things were lost a little bit in translation. I didn't do any research, but I assume the book was first published in another language due to the setting, character names & some of the word choices/sentence structures- they just weren't quite right on occasion. 
I really wanted to like the book because the story idea sounded good to me, it just didn't work out that way.
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I have had this book for a while now, but I've finally come to realize that it's just not going to happen. Given the subject matter I really wanted to delve into this one, but the writing felt very disjointed and jumpy. I feel like much of the content was lost in translation.
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Heartbreaking, thought-provoking and a tearjerker. The author's story drew me in immediately due to his attention to detail. It's one of those rare books that I wish would have continued and I'm hoping a sequel will follow so that I can keep up with this beautiful family.
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2 stars. I simply couldn't connect with this book.

I have much respect for the author, Tom Malmquist, for writing this fictionalized autobiography. I feel that writing his story would have been therapeutic and life changing for him to have documented everything he went through and experienced. 

Unfortunately, as a reader, I couldn't immerse myself within the story. The writing lacked emotion for me - it was more "tell" than "feel". The story was 'matter of factly' told in an almost clinical way. I could sense Malmquist's desperation in his devastating situations, but not his emotion. The writing felt quite choppy and lacked quotations which I found highly confusing. His thoughts and paragraphs seemed to jump all over the place. There was no sense of flow to the story for me and I felt no form of attachment or investment in the story which was a deeply emotional and sad situation for him. Perhaps part of the issue was the translation of language? 

There are plenty of high rated reviews which I strongly suggest you check out before making a decision on this novel. 

A big thank you to NetGalley, Melville House Publishing and Tom Melmquist for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!!
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4.5 Stars

”THE CONSULTANT STAMPS down the wheel lock of Karin’s hospital bed. In a loud voice he addresses the intensive care nurses, who are cutting open her tank top and sports bra: Pregnant woman, week thirty-three, child reportedly in good health, started feeling ill about five days ago with flu-like symptoms, fever, cough, slight shortness of breath yesterday which was put down to her pregnancy, condition severely deteriorating today, acute respiratory difficulties, arrived at the maternity unit about an hour ago. With powerful hands, he unscrews a cartridge-like bottle and continues: sats about seventy ambient but response to oxygen with higher saturation, RR about forty to fifty, BT a hundred a forty, HR a hundred and twenty. The midwife who helped with the oxygen in the ambulance stops in the doorway. She gently takes my arm. You’re in Ward B at the ICU now, would you like me to write that down for you on a bit of paper?”

Tom goes from sharing his life with his soul-mate, looking forward to the birth of their child, and their marriage in the relatively near future to being a parent and losing his partner, the woman he thought would be his wife. How life can change so swiftly from that to being a new parent, a single parent, grieving the loss of one while trying to share love with his new daughter, Livia.

This story, a story of love, and loss, of learning how to live again, and in a way, it is also about learning how to love even through the pain, how to slowly engage with life again. Learning how to hope, and maybe even believe that life will not break your heart, again.

The style of the writing is more a stream-of-consciousness fashion – in long, run-on sentences that fade away into another thought or perhaps of someone else speaking, or a memory to drag you down another path until reality interrupts, and you find yourself standing there wondering why you are where you are – and yet, it flows in that way naturally, meandering here and there without losing the reader.

Heartbreakingly beautiful, a lovely testament to the author’s own personal story, which this novel is based upon. A story of a Swedish poet’s internal battle to come to terms with losing his loved one, Karin, to a disease they’d diagnosed after only a short time at the hospital, leukemia. Her death, the birth of a daughter, and the loss of his father that follows too soon. There are autobiographical elements to this novel, and there is so much of this that feels real, and your heart and mind are linked to this person’s story, and it is that link with everything that shows who he is – his thoughts, his fears, and failures – that makes this so worth reading.

This novel, his first, was originally published in Sweden in 2015. Previously, he’d written two books of poetry, ”Sudden Death” in 2007 (a sports oriented book of poetry – he is also a former ice hockey player), and “Fadersmjölken" in 2009.

Recommended



Pub Date: 30 January 2018

Many thanks for the ARC provided by Melville House
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*****  I give this Book a Five Star Review.  I would recommend this Book.  Thanks NetGalley.
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