This image is the cover for the book What We Owe

What We Owe

The winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize “about mothers and daughters, nation and exile, and the way forward with hope and pain . . . a masterpiece” (Tayari Jones, The Times).

A gut punch of a novel that asks us to consider: what do we pass on to our children? What do we owe those we love? And without roots, can you ever truly be free?

Nahid has six months left to live. Or so the doctors say. At fifty, she is no stranger to loss. But now, as she stands on the precipice of her own death—just as she has learned that her daughter Aram is pregnant with her first child—Nahid is filled with both new fury and long dormant rage. Her life back home in Iran, and living as a refugee in Sweden, has been about survival at any cost. How to actually live, she doesn’t know; she has never had the ability or opportunity to learn.

Here is an extraordinary story of exile, dislocation, and the emotional minefields between mothers and daughters; a story of love, guilt and dreams for a better future, vibrating with both sorrow and an unquenchable joie de vivre. With its startling honesty, dark wit, and irresistible momentum, What We Owe introduces a fierce and necessary new voice in international fiction.

“One of the best books I’ve read about the psychological horror of being from post-revolutionary Iran . . . Gorgeous and vital, this story will haunt its readers.”—Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, for The Rumpus

“Spare and devastating . . . Always arresting, never sentimental; gut-wrenching, though not without hope.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Golnaz Hashemzadeh Bonde

Golnaz Hashemzadeh Bonde was born in Iran in 1983 and fled with her parents to Sweden as a young child. She graduated from the Stockholm School of Economics and was named one of the 50 Goldman Sachs Global Leaders. She is the founder and director of Inkludera Invest, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting marginalization in society by backing social entrepreneurs who have developed pragmatic solutions to social challenges. What We Owe is her first novel to be published in the US. She lives in Stockholm with her husband and daughter.Elizabeth Clark Wessel is the translator and co-translator of numerous novels, memoirs, and other projects from the Swedish, including The Ice Beneath Her by Camilla Grebe, Let’s Hope for the Best by Carolina Setterwall, Astroecology by Johannes Heldén, What We Owe by Golnaz Hashemzadeh Bonde, and the recently published journals of Hilma af Klint in Hilma af Klint: Notes and Methods, edited by Christine Burgin. She’s also a poet and a founding editor at the poetry press Argos Books. Originally from rural Nebraska, she spent many years living in New York and Connecticut, and these days she calls Stockholm, Sweden home.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (