Jacob, a middle-aged architect living in Copenhagen, is in the alcohol-soaked throes of a bitter divorce when he receives an unexpected call from his great-uncle Anton, who is in his nineties and still lives with his brother Anders on their rural Jutland farm—a place Jacob hasn’t visited since the summer of 1978.
Anton asks Jacob to answer the question that has haunted them both for decades: What happened to Ellen?
To find out, Jacob must revisit the farm and confront what took place that summer—one defined by his teenage obsession with Ellen, a beautiful young hippie from the local commune who came to stay with Anton and Anders, and the unsolved disappearance of Jacob’s classmate’s sister. In revisiting old friends and rivals, Jacob discovers that the tragedies that have haunted him for over forty years were not what they seemed.
“This is a beautifully written book, descriptive, atmospheric and carefully woven … [Friis] describes Denmark in the 1970s with the keen eye of a miniaturist, taking in every little detail until you feel you are breathing the fresh country air and touching the blades of grass.”
NPR on The Summer of Ellen