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Take fiscal responsibility as well

You Disappear

Title: You Disappear
By: Christian Jungersen

I have finished reading You Disappear by Danish novelist Christian Jungersen, but its impact is such that my mind simply will not let it go.

The story is straightforward: Mia Halling, a school teacher, is struck with a series of unpleasant surprises. One hot Mediterranean day during a family vacation in Majorca, her husband Frederik is driving so recklessly that he crashes the car, falls, and is taken to hospital. It turns out that he has been suffering from a brain tumor, possibly malignant. After medical consultation and treatment back in Copenhagen, Mia finds the black cloud of the cancer scare lifted, but is faced with a graver reality and its damage to her family. Frederik, the principal of Saxtorph Private School, has embezzled and lost more than 11 million kroner of the school’s funds, gambling on international commodity indexes. Erratic risk-taking behavior apparently is characteristic of orbitofrontal brain injuries such as his.

Unlike many a public official or private CEO who bankrupts their city or company and walks away without being held financially responsible, Frederik and other school board members have to face the consequences: take fiscal, as well as moral and political responsibility. They are obligated to sell their upscale houses and liquidate all their assets to make up for the misused funds. Even though Frederick has medical evidence that his behavior was caused by his brain tumor, he is likely to serve jail time.

Jungersen won Denmark’s Best First Novel Award in 1999 with Undergrowth. His next novel, The Exception, won two more Danish literary awards. I cannot wait to put my hands on these earlier books.

View similarly tagged posts: fiction

Posted on Feb. 24, 2016 at 12:25 a.m.

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