Through winding diary entries, 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 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 each day. 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, grasping at each thought and gesture before they are lost. With quiet adamance, the narrator gives the reader room to think and breathe. She casts a furtive light or an unsettling silence, both attempting to find her voice and yearning for complete solitude.
Similar to her previous novels, Ida Jessen’s sympathy once again clearly lies with those people who are unable put words to all the feelings that keep turning in their heads, and they accept being bound to others in a way they themselves don’t understand. Those who are ‘helplessly human’, as it’s called at the end of A Change of Time. This type of story has gradually become a signature of her writing. For Ida Jessen, being human is being unable to truly see oneself, or in particular, the ways that we are connected to others. She is very good at setting up the situation. She can really capture the quiet and unsettled relations between people, presented through a scene or dialogue exchange, making characters seem alive and genuine, without resorting to dramatic tricks.
— Tue Andersen Nexø, InformationIda Jessen strikes out into new territory with A Change of Time. Mrs. Bagge is a strong and rational woman, with an appetite for everything the world has to offer. Subtle and beautiful prose.
— Nordjyske StiftstidendeAn utterly well-written novel about the gradual reawakening of an older woman, which elegantly parallels the dry, blooming heath landscapes.
— Alt for Damerne