“What if war were here? Where would you go?

If the bombs had torn most of your city, most of your country, to ruins? If the house that you and your family live in had holes in the walls, all the windows broken, the roof rent off? Winter is nearing, the heating doesn’t work, and the rain gushes straight in. You can only stay in the basement. Your mother has bronchitis and yet another bout of pneumonia on its way. Your older brother has lost three fingers on his left hand in an episode with a mine. He supports the militia against the wishes of your parents. Your little sister has been wounded by grenade splinters and lies in a hospital with no equipment. Your grandparents died when a bomb struck their nursing home.”

Europe has fallen apart, the only place with peace and democracy anywhere within reach is the Middle East. A normal well off European family flees to Egypt, and the family goes through the asylum process, years in camps, finally to settle in Aswan with a total loss of and transformation of social identity. Seen through the eyes of the 14 year old son who must now grow up and make a life utterly different from that of his parents and all he knew from before.

Janne Teller changes the setting of this book to taking its outset in each country where it’s published. Thus, in the Danish original, it’s a war amongst the Nordic countries, and you follow a Danish family fleeing. In the French version, it’s a war in Southern Europe, and it’s a French family fleeing Paris, in the British version, it’s an English family fleeing London etc. In the Latin American versions, each book is further adapted to the specifics of the geopolitics of the region.


“Finally, a necessary book!” – Le Monde, France

“The idea is just as simple as it’s genius: With a small twist, the author turns our everyday upside down and forces us to face a horrifying kaleidoscope.”– Deutschlandradio Kultur, Germany

“A shocking thought experiment. A tiny but highly effective plädoyer for more respect and compassion.” – NDR Kulturjournal, Germany

“Janne Teller again takes our imagination to a place, where it hurts. She draws us away from what has become a much too unquestioned truism: the undoubted superciliousness of the Western values.”– Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Switzerland

“Impressive.”– Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany

“Teller’s book changes something in your head, and thus also your outlook …”– Berlinerzeitung, Germany

Awarded, ia:
Teskedsordnen (anti-fanaticism prize), Sweden
Peter Pan prize, Sweden
Drassows’ Peace Prize for literature towards humanity, Denmark

Published in, ia: Great Britain, Germany, Latin (German version), France, Italy, Spain, Catalonia, Portugal, Hungary, Sweden, Norway, Faroe Island, Netherlands, Belgium, Mexico, Colombia