Please Read This Leaflet Carefully will be published simultaneously in Norway, the UK and the US in May 2019.

“Karen Havelin’s Please Read This Leaflet Carefully is a life told in reverse and a subversion of what we expect from stories of illness. Having been diagnosed with endometriosis in her twenties, we follow Laura Fjellstad in her struggle to live a normal life across New York, Paris and Oslo, fueled by her belief that to survive her chronic illness she must be completely self-reliant.

Flowing backwards from 2016 to 1995, we meet Laura’s younger selves: her healthier selves. Laura as a daughter, a figure skater, a lover, and a mother—finally leading a life her own teenage self would be in awe of.

To be devoured intensely in one sitting, Please Read This Leaflet Carefully is a remarkable debut novel with bracing emotional insights and piercing descriptions of pain that linger in one’s mind long after the last page. It is also a beguiling meditation on relationships, motherhood, sexuality, pain and the limitations of our own bodies.”

Book notes on the novel’s playlist on largehearted boy

Spotify playlist


Most books about disease try to describe the pain; told in poetic whisper, Karen Havelin's debut novel lets pain speak for itself. It's a book that dares you be nosy, to eavesdrop and listen in to a stoic young woman whom no one noticed until she began to disappear, her body disintegrating from the inside out until there's nothing left but searing agony and almost impossibly―a burning triumph. ―Paul Beatty, Man Booker Prize 2016

With an equally fierce gift for conjuring beauty and pain, Karen Havelin’s debut novel takes us on a sensual journey that’s at turns horrific and sexy and full of grace. This is a triumph of depicting the body in literature, alive in the modern world. —Joanna Hershon, author of A Dual Inheritance

Karen Havelin writes with astounding sensitivity and grace of the vulnerability of the body, that abject and essential container within which we live our entire lives. With a keen eye for detail and a boundless capacity to evoke empathetic thought, Havelin’s debut is a revelation. ―Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine

A book as profound as it is delicately written, Havelin's unflinching portrait of female reproductive suffering unfolds in an beautifully observed coming of age story that crosses continents. This book stays with you long after you put it down. —Iris Martin Cohen, author of The Little Clan

Karen Havelin’s first novel is a powerful report on the body in crisis, on a life removed from comfort and community. It is beautifully done. Havelin’s writing stresses tactility and sensuality, physical touch and sensation and isolation, making illness an occasion for empathy, trust, and connection between writer and reader. —Donald Antrim, author of the Hundred Brothers

A superbly written and incredibly graceful novel about the things that really matter: love, mortality, and all the beautiful things that keep us alive. ―Gary Shteyngart, author of Lake Success: A Novel and Super Sad True Love Story

A fiercely told and beautifully rendered story of reclamation: of body, of love, of self. ―Hala Alyan, author of Salt Houses

Please Read This Leaflet Carefully dares us not to look away from the complex inner world of Laura Fjellstad: the chronic pain from which she suffers, her hopes, loves, sorrows and furies—and in so doing shines as a perceptive, exquisitely rendered jewel. —Lauren Wilkinson, author of American Spy

Scarifying and beautiful. —Benjamin Taylor, author of The Hue and Cry at Our House: A Year Remembered