Johan Kling


Johan Kling, born 1962 in Stockholm, is a writer and a film director. His debut novel “Människor helt utan betydelse” (2009) was awarded the Borås Magazine Debut Award and became one of ten in the Stockholm City Library's vote in 2010 for the best literary depiction of Stockholm.

The latest novel, Happiness, is a gentle depiction of parenthood where Johan Kling examines a father’s love for his child and the role of a single parent. 

Photo: Victor Gårdsäter




David has shared custody of his daughter Fia whose wellbeing is always at the forefront of his mind. He tries hard to provide for her in every way he can but constantly feels that the life he can offer her is far from that what she has with her mother Marina. To his regret, he has ended up in an emotional tug of war with Marina, where he is the constant loser: his holidays and weekends with Fia don’t seem as much fun and the gaps between them seem to get longer and longer, he can’t afford to treat her to clothes or days out, and can barely afford even an ice cream. Worst of all, Fia seems to be increasingly bored in his company.

It’s at this time that he crosses paths with Kajsa, a woman he knew from his younger days. He is not in love with her but probably could be. If he would allow himself.

Happiness is about a middle-aged man who tries to combine the love of a child with the dream of being close to another adult again. It is one of the great questions of human existence, perhaps invisible to those on the outside, but absolutely crucial to the one who’s in the middle of it.

Johan Kling

Original title:

March 2019

Literary Fiction

Original publisher:
Natur & Kultur

Reading material:
Swedish manuscript
English full translation

186 pp.


“Johan Kling writes enormously fascinating reflections of our time. His new novel seems to add another piece in an initiated literary life puzzle.”


"In his third novel, Johan Kling continues to investigate loneliness and longing for love. /… / In those parts of the novel that are connected to the life task of the laconic title Happiness Johan Kling's novel is the most beautiful but also most painful. In the relationship with Fia there is a pain point that Johan Kling reveals with a language that never uses overtones. It creates a tension and a masterly novel art that is well worth reading." 

Borås Tidning

“With an ice-cold beautiful language, Johan Kling takes on the theme of the great love for the children. /… / What I like the most about Johan Kling's books is the lack of light. That there is no knock on the door by some sprightly person and everything will be fine. /… / It's hardcore noir and I love it.” 


"Like Johan Kling's previous stories, Happiness is a reflection, a short time on earth in which we get to follow the narrator. A trifle. But as such, it stays with you and is quite important in all its apparent simplicity."

SR Kulturnytt