The Deal of a Lifetime: Fredrik Backman

★★★★

Fredrik Backman’s The Deal of a Lifetime is an emotionally-charged short story about the mistakes made in a lifetime and how to rectify them.

A father abandons his son. A young girl has cancer. Life is unfair in ways that are both avoidable and – devastatingly – not. When faced with the end of life – with the knowledge that you’ve made irreversible mistakes that have far-reaching ramifications – how can you make amends? How important is another’s life when yours is surely coming to an end? Backman answers these questions and more in this slightly eerie, wholly touching short story.

Content Warning

Please take caution while reading The Deal of a Lifetime if any of the following topics may trigger you:

  • Death / dying

My Thoughts

So you’re aware – this is a 65 page story published stand-alone. It is a tiny book, but it packs an emotional punch. Backman is a master at his craft – at breaking your heart and piecing it back together again (see: A Man Called Ove). This story is no exception.

Backman’s writing is particularly special because he makes you aware that he’s not telling you everything. You know there will be this great revelation in your future, and it never disappoints. This story is perfectly withholding and so interesting. There’s almost a supernatural aspect to it, but that is made to feel very human. The story does deal with humanity and death, after all.

While the story is wonderful and so heartfelt, I can’t overlook its length. Spending maybe 45 minutes of your day reading a beautiful story by a world-renowned author is a no-brainer. The story’s brevity definitely adds to my five-star rating, as it’s such an impactful use of time.

In the waiting room at your doctor’s office? In the carpool line to pick up your kid? Taking a luxurious bath? I highly recommend you pick this one up and finish it in one sitting!


Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts on The Deal of a Lifetime. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the story in the comments or at my Instagram, @bookmarkedbya!

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