Join us for a rare appearance by acclaimed Danish author, Ida Jessen, in conversation with Toronto’s Fifth Poet Laureate, Anne Michaels, at this special pre-Festival event. Widely considered to be the master of psychological realism in contemporary Danish fiction, Jessen will present her latest book: A Change of Time.
She sets her latest work in rural Denmark in the early 20th Century, and tells the intimate story of a schoolteacher after her husband passes away. Through unpacking A Change of Time, the conversation will explore the silent desires and grief that can transpire from rebuilding one’s identity, as well as a deep look at human innocence and fallibility.
This event is co-presented with Archipelago Books. Light refreshments will be provided.
A Change of Time pieces together the life of a schoolteacher after her husband, the town doctor, passes away. Set in rural Denmark in the early 20th century, the narrator’s journal entries form an intimate portrait of a woman rebuilding her identity. Her thoughts unravel in sudden bursts, followed by quiet meditation or the rhythmic passing of days. She writes, “Memory is like a sieve. Everything runs through it,” and indeed Ida Jessen’s prose conveys the constant feeling of falling through a sieve, shaking each thought for its secret meaning. With a clear, unerring voice, the narrator gives the reader room to think and breathe. Ida Jessen’s every phrase swells with warmth and tenderness, turning over our deepest desires.
“A Change of Time is a book of masterful restraint, and this restraint is a kind of tenderness. It is a book that understands that desire permeates everything – nothing human can be cleansed of it; and that sometimes love clings most inextricably to the smallest places – misjudgement, invisibility, loneliness. It is a book that deepens and dignifies both our innocence and our fallibility.” — Anne Michaels