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Big in Sweden

Author(s): Sally Franson

Location(s): Sweden

Genre(s): Fiction, Humour

Era(s): Contemporary

Paulie Johansson is lost: on the brink of midlife, all she’s got to show for herself is a dead-end job and some serious family baggage. Maybe that’s why, drunk and sure it’s a fool’s errand, she agrees to audition for Sverige och Mig, a Swedish reality show where Americans compete to win an unusual prize – a reunion with long-lost Scandinavian family.

To everyone’s surprise (and her boyfriend Declan’s disapproval) Paulie makes the final cast, dropping everything to jump on a plane to Sweden – armed only with a copy of Pippi Longstocking and a sense of possibility.

At first, it seems clear she has nothing in common with her fellow American contestants. But amid increasingly absurd challenges and on-camera meltdowns, followed at all times by a distractingly handsome Swedish cameraman, Paulie finds herself rethinking everything she thought she knew about her country, her family, and herself.

Sometimes you have to leave it all behind, to find what you’ve always been looking for . . .

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