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Ithaka Press to publish ‘extraordinary’ and ‘lyrical’ investigative memoir by Linda Segtnan

Ithaka Press, an imprint of Bonnier Books UK, will publish The Eighth House: A murder, a mother, a haunting by Linda Segtnan, translated from Swedish by Elizabeth Clark Wessell

Sarah Braybrooke, publishing director at Ithaka Press, acquired World English Language rights from Astri Ahlander at Ahlander Agency. 

Described by Daisy Johnson as ‘extraordinary’ and Sara Baume as ‘incisive and unique’, The Eighth House tells the story of the author’s investigation to find the murderer of a young girl, while grappling with the anxieties and joys of having a daughter herself.

In the archives of the national library, a researcher named Linda sees a nine year-old girl’s face in the pages of a yellowed newspaper, and the seed of an obsession is planted in her mind. Birgitta Sivander was brutally murdered one night in May 1948. The culprit was never found. Linda feels a deep connection to Birgitta, and in the months that follow she compulsively researches the case.

Meanwhile, a life is taking root inside Linda; she is to have a daughter of her own. As she grapples with the wonder and anxiety of motherhood, she gradually pieces together Birgitta’s story, closing in on the possible killer. Driven to redeem a lost child, Linda must find a way to lay Birgitta to rest. Moving and unputdownable, The Eighth House is a shattering examination of why cycles of violence persist, and an invocation of the hope that new life brings.

Sarah Braybrooke said: “In April we will publish an extraordinary book by Linda Segtnan, translated from Swedish by Elizabeth Clark Wessel. Part murder investigation, part memoir, it goes to the heart of questions we normally shy away from. What does it mean to take a life, and to bring one into being? What do we owe the dead? And why do cycles of violence persist? I first came across a sample of the book last year and was immediately struck by its power and originality. The story of a researcher who becomes obsessed with solving a cold case murder of a child at the same time as her own pregnancy progresses, Segtnan’s juxtaposition of murder and motherhood is transgressive and transfixing. This a fearless and propulsive work of hybrid writing.”

Linda Segtnan was born in 1986 and works as a historical researcher in Stockholm. The Eighth House is her first book.

Elizabeth Clark Wessel has translated books by Golnaz Hashemzadeh Bonde, Carolina Setterwall, Kristina Lugn, Joakim Zander, and many others. Her co-translation of Astroecology by Johannes Heldén was longlisted for the 2018 Best Translated Book Award, and her translation of Knock Knock by Anders Roslund was recently shortlisted for the Petrona Award. A collection of her poetry, None of It Belongs to Me, is forthcoming in 2024 from Game Over Books.

The Eighth House will be published in hardback in April 2024.

Author photo: Mira Wickman