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An epic drama spanning the years 1939 to 1952, this is the gripping story of Simon, who grows up in a loving working class family on the outskirts of Gothenburg but always feels out of place. Intellectually gifted, he stubbornly persists in acquiring an education normally reserved for young men of the professional classes.
He finally convinces his father to send him to an upper-class grammar school, where he meets Isak, the son of a wealthy Jewish bookseller who has fled Nazi persecution in Germany. When Isak faces trouble at home, he is taken in by Simon's family and the two households slowly merge, connecting in unexpected ways as war rages all over Europe.