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Four Days in January: A Letter to Jillsan – Nils-Johan Jørgensen

23 Feb

letteringThis is a modern tale, a journey of the heart, a road back, revisiting many cities and enduring Eastern and Western sentiments to light and lighten our understanding of life’s fleeting appearance.

It is a way of honouring the life of a loved one, to tell a personal story that reflects the shared, universal truth of the silence of loss from Kakimoto to Goethe and beyond.

Four Days in January is a beautifully told, deeply moving and poignant letter of loss, yet also the celebration of the life of a loved one through allegory, music, poetry and personal records.

Told in letter-form, Four Days in January records the story of two lovers and their lives through marriage and parenthood following his diplomatic career spent in different parts of the world, and the role and dedication of the diplomat’s wife.

Here is a very open volume that offers an array of inspirational thoughts for anyone facing loss and bereavement.

Having read most of Mr Jørgensen’s other books this one, whilst no less readable was an altogether different beast. It is a meditation on life as well as loss.  A union of two coming together to live as one, of a love that really shines through, a life lived fully but also a statement on the cruelty of having it cut short.

The beginning takes us through the unfolding tragedy of a life suddenly declining. It is told in an unflinching way and it moved this reader immensely.  Despite reading this book in January, I know that the opening will be the best one I read all year, which is saying something as I continue to amass great literature.

This personal final letter to his love is an intimate portrait, delicately penned, a chronicle of a shared existence, told through a number of key vignettes.  What makes this an intensely moving piece of work is that it is real life, good and bad things happen but it is a reminder to appreciate it every day for what it is.  Even the most mundane of times can become something beautiful when viewed the right way.

speeches, diaries and literary quotes are interwoven into the reminiscences, which add more not only to the immersion for the reader but also offer an insight into the world of the diplomat who moves around a lot.  The sacrifices the family make are also explored, the beloved places that became home, fondly remembered, the knowledge that contact with friends will end up being long distance as another move beckons.  That made worse of course before the advent of Skype and other such inexpensive communication platforms.

Each of the 27 chapters  – plus the titular four days in chapter one – adds up to the amount of days in January, which is no coincidence and the book is a story of chapters, of opening and closings.  This is a love story, pure and simple, it’s the best kind of love story, one that oozes real emotional content and an unflinching honesty.  Four Days in January makes my book collection richer.

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26 Comments

Posted by on 23/02/2017 in Autobiography, Life, Memoir

 

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26 responses to “Four Days in January: A Letter to Jillsan – Nils-Johan Jørgensen

  1. Sherri

    23/02/2017 at 15:15

    Wow. Your wonderful review is powerful and moving enough my friend. Coupled with the lovely cover (which I don’t often pay too much attention to, strangely,), I am very keen to read this book. Thank you…

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      23/02/2017 at 15:55

      As a memoir writer yourself, I thought this would be a book you would interested in. I know you will love it.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Sherri

        23/02/2017 at 17:51

        Yes…this book is tailor made for me, I am actually really excited about reading it, absolutely loved your review…

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        • Ste J

          24/02/2017 at 13:48

          Thank you, it is a deeply moving book and I find it a bit criminal that such a book is not more widely known.

          Liked by 1 person

           
  2. Liz

    23/02/2017 at 15:18

    This sounds like a beautiful book. I went straight on to Amazon after reading your post to see if I could get a kindle sample (to sneakily peak at that opening you tantalisingly dangle before us!). But nothing doing – I see that it is just available in hard back. Never mind – devilling out copies of good work is always worth it.

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      23/02/2017 at 15:58

      I wasn’t aware there was a lack of Kindle edition but then again I pay little attention to that market. The hardback smells great though!

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Liz

        24/02/2017 at 11:02

        Nothing like a real book for that all-round sensory experience. Kindle is great for travelling, but I like hard copies for home.

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        • Ste J

          24/02/2017 at 14:01

          All-round sensory experience is a great way of putting it. I’ve been more mindful of spreading the reading love. When I next travel I’ll probably pick up some cheap second hand books, read them and leave them lying about somewhere to give somebody a free book. I will probably drop a blog link inside as well though as it would be interesting to get feedback from somebody….or multiple people were the book passed on. It would be a fascinating experiment.

          Liked by 1 person

           
          • Liz

            24/02/2017 at 15:19

            Books that are fleetingly in our possession definitely have a special place in the world. I always love it when you find a shelf of ‘take me home’ books in hotels, dentist waiting rooms etc. It’s a really good idea to pick up books with an intention to pass them on anonymously as ‘bonus reads’. I might try this too, and we can compare notes.

            Liked by 1 person

             
  3. shadowoperator

    23/02/2017 at 19:57

    Why, why, why, Ste J, will you keep recommending books faster than I can find them, let alone read them? Seriously, though, this sounds like a great read. You’re really keeping your hand in with the posting–how’s the job stuff going? Well too, I hope.

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      24/02/2017 at 13:56

      I seem to be posting a lot then disappearing for a while of late but everything is going well, books are being read and its an unbelievably good run of books this year. This one is short and I tread it in two sittings. I feel a need to post more than I do, if only I could make it a full time job!

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      • shadowoperator

        24/02/2017 at 14:05

        I don’t know if they have this across the pond, but over here, there are some websites that sort of feature a collective of authors. Maybe you could reserve some of your titles for something like that if you can find it (in all your copious free time-he!he!), and then continue with your own blog as you do now for the rest. I think some of those collectives even pay a pittance.

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        • Ste J

          24/02/2017 at 14:23

          It bears looking into but really I would love to be focussing and growing with this blog. There is always the hope if a lottery win, one can hope!

          Like

           
          • shadowoperator

            24/02/2017 at 20:17

            Okey-dokey; as long as I get my fix of “Ste J on Lit.”

            Like

             
            • Ste J

              27/02/2017 at 14:53

              Of course my friend, always!

              Like

               
  4. Disha

    23/02/2017 at 22:23

    Wow, that sounds wonderful. Adding it to my list. Is it readily available? I haven’t read anything else by him

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      24/02/2017 at 13:44

      Yes, I check Amazom.com and .co.uk and they stock it. I have reviews four of the author’s other books elsewhere on this site as well, each is well worth a read.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  5. Lyn

    23/02/2017 at 22:40

    This seems like a book that requires a physical copy rather than an e-book. Some books are like that.

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      24/02/2017 at 13:40

      I totally agree, in fact for me, it is always a physical copy, I like to be reminded of my reading experiences and what I learned from them daily.

      Like

       
  6. clarepooley33

    25/02/2017 at 02:19

    Yes, your review has convinced me that yet another book must be added to my tbr list!

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      27/02/2017 at 14:52

      AHh, the list that will never be conquered, thiss is certainly a great addition to the ranks.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  7. Christy B

    27/02/2017 at 19:44

    Ohhhh.. It sounds poignant, sad, and uplifting.. It must be put on my TBR list!

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      27/02/2017 at 23:38

      Yes, it really is a glimpse into a world that resonates but is also uniquely arcane in its ambassadorial ways.

      Like

       
  8. Andrea Stephenson

    01/03/2017 at 13:38

    I’ve added this to my wish list Ste, it sounds like a wonderful read.

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      03/03/2017 at 14:18

      It is, short and powerful. It’s a great book, one of those books it is a privilege to review and share.

      Liked by 1 person

       

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