Through diary entries, Ida Jessen conveys the life of a choolteacher, Lilly Høy, starting with recounts of her isits to her husband Vigand Bagge who is in the hospital in another own, over her response to his death and her ttempts to build herself a new life, find herself a new place and identity in the rural community she is living in and find attachment to her life again.
Slowly, as Lilly through subtle allusions, flashbacks, encounters and meaningful silences discloses her past, Lilly ’ s life turns out to have been far less conventional than one would have expected for a oman living at that time in such a remote rural place.
The portrait of Lilly and her current life and past which drop by drop forms in the essence of the reader is finely constructed, the silences, understatement and twofold interruptions in the tream of the iary are eloquent as well as potent.Reading Jessen ’ s articulate and luminous sentences drew me into the wintry silence of Lilly ’ s evening, sitting alone at home, evoking the inwardness of the story magnificently.
No love is ever without grief.Apart from the masterly evocation of the restrained emotions and inner experiences of growth and regained freedom of a gir who gets widowed, the novel through the description of everyday life and Lilly Høy ’ s personal history throws a light on the sociolog and history of the rural, poor area and life in a smalle tow community in Denmark early 20th century ( the diary spans the period 1904-1932) and the ocial changes taking place during that time ( as aptly illustrated by Laura ’ s eview), developments in which both spouses will play their part.
While typing this review, I discovered that Ida Jessen wrote a pendant to Lilly ’ s tale, this time seen from the viewpoints of her wife, Vigand ( Doktor Bagges anagrammer).