Culture / Extract / Lifestyle

Extract: My Daughter, Greta Thunberg


Extract taken from Our House is On Fire: Scenes of a Family and a Planet in Crisis by MALENA ERNMAN…

Malena Ernman

Beata was born three years after Greta and we bought a Volvo V70 so we’d have room for doll’s houses, teddy bears and tricycles. Those were fantastic years. Our life was marvellous. One evening in the autumn of 2014, Svante and I sat slumped on our bathroom floor in Stockholm. It was late, the children were asleep. Everything was starting to fall apart around us. Greta was 11, had just started fifth grade, and was not doing well. She cried at night when she should be sleeping. She cried on her way to school. She cried in her classes and during her breaks, and the teachers called home almost every day. Svante had to run off and bring her home to Moses, our golden retriever. She sat with him for hours, petting him and stroking his fur. She was slowly disappearing into some kind of darkness and little by little, bit by bit, she seemed to stop functioning. She stopped playing the piano. She stopped laughing. She stopped talking. And she stopped eating. We sat there on the hard mosaic floor, knowing exactly what we would do. We would change everything. We would find the way back to Greta, no matter the cost. The situation called for more than words and feelings. A closing of accounts. A clean break.

“How are you feeling?” Svante asked. “Do you want to keep going?”


“OK. F*** this. No more,” he said. “We’ll cancel everything. Every last contract,” Svante went on. “Madrid, Zurich, Vienna, Brussels. Everything.”


To continue reading, please buy the book.

MALENA ERNMAN is a Swedish singer.

Our House Is on Fire: Scenes of a Family and a Planet in Crisis by MALENA ERNMAN, SVANTE THUNBERG and GRETA THUNBERG is published on 5th March.

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