Writing with the same narrative generosity, the same belief in the dignity and voice of her characters as Marilynne Robinson, this prize-winning collection of stories follows the inner lives of several women on the brink, or the sidelines, of catastrophe.
The Danish writer Ida Jessen masterfully explores the female voice in her latest short story collection...There are six stories in total, which are all remarkably real and relatable...At first, these stories may seem even too mundane with everyday chores of cooking and cleaning, fighting with one’s spouse, or listening to a son badmouth his mother...But as you continue to connect with these women, you realize there is so much more to their everyday lives...They are all on the brink of something that is going to change them forever...Within these short stories, the imagery of nature and all its beauty is as lush as the writing itself...The author’s talents shine because she gives us this intoxicating interiority of strong female characters showing us how complex they are, how strong, and how there is much more than what meets the eye.
... Jessen's stories are full of such striking images ... Jessen is regarded as an expert practitioner of psychological realism in her native Denmark, and the stories that make up A Postcard for Annie showcase this talent through their shrewd depictions of women wrestling with conundrums, torments and upheavals ... The shortest story in the collection is little more than a scanty sketch. Fortunately, there are three longer pieces here, each of them weighing in at around 50 pages. All turn out to be Jessen's strongest work ... Whether they are facing predicaments, making difficult emotional choices or just watching their lives unravel, Jessen's heroines earn our sympathy. Martin Aitken's surefooted translation conveys their plight and allows us to grasp Jessen's astute observations and appreciate her beguiling prose. This collection is the work of a skillful storyteller.
Renowned Danish writer Jessen’s short-story collection shows her penchant for writing about everyday lives as they’re disrupted in ways, large and small, that alter her character’s trajectories ... While large events occur—a murder, even—Jessen’s writing remains subdued and detailed, ensuring that readers will be drawn into each story and feel emotionally connected to the characters. Danish life is simply and realistically woven throughout, with hints that some of these stories may be set in the same small town. Expertly translated by Aiken, Jessen’s language flows beautifully, making this a collection readers could easily devour in a sitting; its characters and themes will stay with them long after.