Set in 1940s Paris, this bittersweet international bestselling debut novel has sold in over twenty-three territories.
A psychiatrist is counting down toward his upcoming retirement. He lives alone in his childhood home and has neither friends nor family.
Often, he resorts to drawing bird caricatures of his patients instead of taking notes. His social life consists of brief conversations with his meticulous secretary, Madame Surrugue, who has reigned over the clinic for more than thirty years. The two of them have no relationship outside the office, where everything runs smoothly and uneventfully.
Until one day, that is, when a young German woman called Agatha arrives and demands to see the doctor, and he soon realizes that underneath her fragile exterior is a strong and fascinating woman. The doctor and Agatha embark upon a course of therapy together, a process that forces the doctor to confront his fear of true intimacy outside the clinic. But is it too late to reconsider your existence as a seventy-one-year-old?
Praise for Agatha:
“Agatha is a seductive tale, pleasingly spare and evocative. Told with tenderness and humour, it invites readers to believe that the broken can heal the broken, that doctors and patients may learn from each other, if both dare to risk being fully seen and truly come to know themselves.” —Martha Baillie, author of If Clara and The Search for Heinrich Schlögel
“With deft sagacity, Anne Cathrine Bomann reveals how the possibility for transformation lies coiled within any life. In Agatha, no one is too old or desiccated to see newly. I was immediately entranced by this minimalist tale and its hopeful, timeless story.” —Catherine Bush, author of Blaze Island and The Rules of Engagement
“Charming, funny, and packed with insight.” —Irish Times
“This short, uplifting book brings us a more fully-realized character than most authors could manage with three times the room, and some painfully hard-won moments of genuine human contact in an arid life.” —The Herald Scotland
“A shrewd, skillful tale of loneliness, the search for meaning and a place in the world, and the problems of truly relating to another human being. (★★★★★)” —The Independent
“Astounding.” —Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
“Anne Cathrine Bomann’s debut novel is a quietly uplifting masterpiece” —Stylist
“Agatha beguiles with its cozy atmosphere and the immense attention the author gives to the emotions of its sometimes bumbling characters.” —Le Monde
“Anne Cathrine Bomann delves into every human relationship’s dark side. She gently and empathically deals with essential questions.” —Corriere della Sera
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“The Canadian release of an international bestseller, it packs a lot of punch in its mere 154 pages. It’s beautifully produced with the outline of flowers introducing each new chapter and visually lush inside covers. The narrator’s voice is lovely, almost soothing, as they get set for retirement but embark on one last course of therapy with a new young patient named Agatha. It’s been published in 23 countries — this might be the universal pandemic read we all need.” —Deborah Dundas, Toronto Star
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“This is a good read for the “Hygge” months, especially when we are further from friends and family than ever before. Agatha explores what it means to be lonely – but also what it means to find meaning and friendship at any age, and in any circumstance” —Lindsay Wincherauk, Driving in Reverse
“The book touches on the ability to make connections when the only thing you’ve ever known is loneliness. It explores human connection and the importance of connecting with others at any stage of life. That through friendship, we can heal and become more whole than we can alone.” —Sloane Reads
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“This slim debut novel by a Danish psychologist is an utter delight… The book is by turns poignant, funny and sad, as the doctor contemplates the twilight of his life and realizes he’s spent innumerable hours helping patients with their dark thoughts, but has never considered his own unhappiness.” —Kim Honey, Zoomer Magazine
Anne Cathrine Bomann lives in Copenhagen dividing her time between writing and working as a psychologist. She also played table tennis for Denmark and won the national championship twelve times. She is also the author of two poetry collections and the debut novel, Agatha, which became a word-of-mouth success following publication in Denmark and has now been translated into twenty-three languages.
Caroline Waight is an award-winning literary translator working from Danish, German, and Norwegian. She has translated a wide range of fiction and non-fiction, with recent publications including The Lobster’s Shell by Caroline Albertine Minor (Granta, 2022), Agatha by Anne Cathrine Bomann (Book*hug Press, 2021), Island by Siri Ranva Hjelm Jacobsen (Pushkin Press, 2021) and The Chief Witness by Sayragul Sauytbay and Alexandra Cavelius (Scribe, 2021). She grew up travelling around the world, living in eight different countries. Having first studied music at Cambridge, Oxford, and Cornell, she worked in publishing before transitioning into full-time literary translation. She now lives and works near London.