Please Go, But Stay

Johanna Nilsson


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Sweden: Forum

– You are so little, he said and measured around her body with his arms, when she was curled up on the bed. But up there, it is large and burdensome. He pointed to her head.

– I will help you heal, he said. I promise. I will never leave you.


Hanna is thirty-one when she meets Alex one night at the Blue Moon bar. But deep inside she is also a child, who wants to hide in the closet and avoid being a woman. She is an author. The words are her hiding place and treasure house. When she writes she is beautiful, strong and healthy. Not like in real life where she meets the total darkness whenever it chooses to hit her. She wants to get well, but doesn’t know how, where to turn; she thinks she already tried everything.


At first, Hanna doesn’t want to tell Alex about the ink butterflies and the darkness, she is afraid he will think she is disgusting and leave. But Alex says she is not disgusting at all, but just pretty. He is not afraid of her darkness, he is not afraid of anything at all it seems. He is almost too good to be true.


Please leave, but stay is a standalone sequel to Johanna Nilsson’s acclaimed debuting novel She Walks Through the Frame and Out of the Picture (1996). Now we get to follow the grown Hanna, when she meets the love of her life, while she is sicker than ever before. Her crooked path through psychiatry continues. In the middle of it all, she becomes the stepmother of two small children.


229 pages



"A fully nuanced depiction of an inner commotion / Please Go But Stay is utterly worth reading."

Svenska Dagbladet


"Please Go, But Stay, is far from a sunshine story, but basically it is a book about hope and confidence. Hanna goes through the darkness into the light - not least thanks to the unconditional love that Alex offers and Hanna's contact with the wonderfully life-affirming children that give her joy and faith in life. The novel shows once again what an important and urgent author Johanna Nilsson is, particularly for young adults with the same issues as Hanna, a book full of painful insights. "


"A gripping novel about hope and the struggling human being. Johanna Nilsson has a free and engaging language that is picked up by a liberating lyrical staining. This makes the book easy to read, despite the darkness. It keeps me in a grip and touches me deeply. The base of the novel, which is also the base of the reader, is the difficulty of living, and wonders on how it can be so. The path to Hanna's response, if any, becomes an existential thriller in which the reader himself is more or less involved. "

Borlänge Tidning


"The sentences are linked together and I do not want to stop reading, because it is a rare draw in this style."

Upsala Nya Tidning

" The rollercoaster journey is very trustworthy portrayed. At least I think so. Because as deep down as hanna was I haven’t been myself. A very dark topic and an almost crazy large portion of suffering for us who like to read about it. “Strong” is a worn out critics judgement, but the very most fitting in this case."

Värmlands Folkblad


"This is the most serious and darkest she has written. But also the strongest and the most anxious."