Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Chosen Ones

The Chosen Ones

A Novel

Steve Sem-Sandberg; Translated from the Swedish by Anna Paterson




Trade Paperback

An absorbing, emotionally overwhelming novel, rich in incident and character, The Chosen Ones is obliquely illuminated by Sem-Sandberg’s sharp sense of the absurd.

The Am Spiegelgrund Clinic, in glittering Vienna, masqueraded as a well-intentioned reform school for wayward boys and girls and a home for chronically ill children. The reality, however, was very different: in the wake of Germany’s annexation of Austria during WWII, the clinic’s doctors, nurses, and teachers created a monstrous parody of the institution’s benign-sounding brief. The Nazi regime’s euthanasia program would come to determine the fate of many of the clinic’s inhabitants.

Through the eyes of a child inmate, Adrian Ziegler, and a nurse, Anna Katschenka, award-winning novelist Steve Sem-Sandberg explores the very meaning of survival in this profoundly moving and dramatic novel that bears witness to oppression and injustice during an intolerable period of Austria’s past.



Fostered Children


The Institution    They brought him to Spiegelgrund for the first time in January 1941, on a cold, clear winter’s morning when the...


Praise for The Chosen Ones

“A chilling and deeply affecting novel . . . exploring a particularly dark corner where other novelists have feared to tread . . . The Chosen Ones may be a tough read, but it is also a powerful and important one.” —Malcolm Forbes, Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Sem-Sandberg's precise, resolutely nonpoetic prose is highly effective, even in translation, and appears to be a conscious refusal of aestheticism: The brutality of the subject requires a brutal style.” —Susan Rubin Suleiman,The New York Times Book Review

“In this intensively researched historical novel, readers follow Sem-Sandberg (and his adept translator) into a nightmarish Nazi inversion of medicine . . . A harrowing chronicle.” —Booklist (starred review)

“With a gift for finding humanity in even the darkest of stories, Sem-Sandberg has written an indelible, moving novel.” Publishers Weekly (starred, boxed review)

“A horror novel, of a sort, in which Swedish novelist Sem-Sandberg (The Emperor of Lies, 2011) returns to the Holocaust to limn its essential inhumanity . . . There is much evil in the book, and much of it is banal indeed. Making every word count, Sem-Sandberg explores the psychologies of captive and captor, the complexities of bearing witness to things that most people would sooner forget. A memorable meditation on the human capacity to do ill—and to endure.” —Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Steve Sem-Sandberg; Translated from the Swedish by Anna Paterson

STEVE SEM-SANDBERG is a Swedish journalist, novelist, and translator. He is the award-winning author of The Emperor of Lies (FSG, 2009). He divides his time between Vienna and Stockholm.

Steve Sem-Sandberg

© Pieter ten Hoopen

Anna Paterson

From the Publisher


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