South of the South Wind – Nils-Johan Jørgensen

Thorgil is an adventurer, a young boy whose heart is out at sea. When his father tells him of his plan to set sail to return to Norway, Thorgil is determined to follow his dreams. This is a story about adventure and never returning home.Schoolboy Thomas loves his geography teacher – with tales of the Bounty Ship and inspiring paintings by Gauguin, his imagination is set free and he gets curious. However, one day in class, the teacher is taken away from school and Thomas is curious to find out where he is.Jorgen is a bright boy but due to financial difficulties, can’t get the education he wants. The fisherman life it is for him and later settles down with a family. One day the winds cause havoc in the sky and change things for him; this is a tale of loss and greed. The finale in the short stories brings to you the tale of Toby, the cheeky dog, guaranteed to bring a smile to your face…

I really tried to make this book last, honest!  Having adored the other three Wind books, and greedily devoured them, this one should have been one to savour. One sitting later and I was once again closing a book utterly enchanted with the stories, and also a little sad that I couldn’t experience them again for the first time.

The initial story, Grapes of Love was, I futilely promised myself, the one story I would limit myself to that day. It tells of the many types of passing; of ideas, and of time, passing into maturity, and of the people whom we meet through life. The mysteries of the heart and the world are explored and all of this is wrapped up in a good dollop of Norse history, which always conjures up dramatic imagery.

Continue to read and think

After that story the ‘just one more, and then I will leave the others’ excuse came into play.  Windward was my absolute favourite tale of the book. It’s another delve into history but is this time much more international.  The reader gets to explore not only the globe but also the themes of escape, freedom and consequences, and how choice – or lack of it – can have major repercussions on life.

The South Wind, is a snapshot of life – its trials and its pleasures – of paths not taken, and the consequent lives lived.  It also adds a touch of the mythical, giving the story a delightfully layered feel.  The idea of fate, or a higher power in play makes this story a thought-provoking read.

To wind up the book, The final story The Candlelight, the Door and the Dog, tells a fun tale of what dogs do when nobody is  watching.  I couldn’t help wondering what our dogs Rambo and Rexie would do when we aren’t watching but the evidence of mauled slippers and paper bags are a huge giveaway.

South of the South Wind is a book for all ages, the emphasis on gentle learning is always welcome and the stories are very diverse.  It sums up perfectly the tone of the whole series, which has been a wonderfully heart warming adventure into literature, and one I will always recommend to everybody who will listen.  It also makes an ideal Christmas gift…

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17 Replies to “South of the South Wind – Nils-Johan Jørgensen”

  1. Oh this sounds enchanting. I love the idea of you doing just one more story, just one more – that’s how I got sucked into reading all of Elizabeth Taylor’s short stories right through!

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    1. I was so excited for this, it took almost two months to actually receive thanks to the post office. After all that you would think I would be able to contain myself and ration but when the writing is good no one can really blame us!

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  2. Dear Ste J, When you were reviewing the other books in this series, and it’s been a while, I think I got confused: I thought it was a novelistic series, not collections of short stories. I guess it’s been too long. Thanks for your recommendations. I know some young people who might enjoy this read, which will be a sort of mature one for them.

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    1. It’s been a couple of years since I did the last one but it has always been short stories, and definitely one for all ages. Rumour has (by which I mean an email) that more will be coming soon from the author.

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  3. This series sounds gorgeous. And I don’t think it does us any harm to have a bit of indulgence now and again. I love it when I have that ‘just one more’ experience with a book, be it pages, chapters, stories etc. There will be plenty of other books for which this is not the case, so how wonderful it is when such treasure finds us.

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    1. I am always excited by the books but also the inevitability of finishing the book in one sitting no matter how slow I take it. I do love that feeling of starting a book and knowing I am going to love it, as you say it’s all too rare a feeling.

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