Beyond Our Reach

“This is not a book on grief, it’s a book on life, all colours of it.” In August, the author’s wife Rose is 17 weeks pregnant with their third child. When the waters suddenly break, the medical verdict is grim: the child has literally no chance to survive. Rose struggles to give up on the life inside her, and a rift opens up between the couple. But a heart-breaking decision must be made. Only a few months later, Rose is pregnant again. And now with twins. In May, less than a year after vacillating between life and death, they receive two tiny babies, 13 weeks prematurely. This time, a struggle for life begins. The acclaimed author and now father of four, Juha Itkonen has written an autobiographical book about an extraordinary year in his family. It’s a deeply touching and relentless account, told by a modern father who despite all his commitment cannot sometimes be but an outsider.

“Juha Itkonen’s book Beyond Our Reach tells about losing an unborn baby and about having twins – all within one year. The story is as terrifying as a thriller, and harrowingly honest. Itkonen knows what he writes about, and we feel it on each and every page. The narrator and his wife Rose swing from despair to hope, and the book’s bright ending gets its depth from the darkness the family has pulled through.” – Kjell Westö

“This is not a book on grief, it’s a book on life, all colours of it.” In August, the author’s wife Rose is 17 weeks pregnant with their third child. When the waters suddenly break, the medical verdict is grim: the child has literally no chance to survive. Rose struggles to give up on the life inside her, and a rift opens up between the couple. But a heart-breaking decision must be made. Only a few months later, Rose is pregnant again. And now with twins. In May, less than a year after vacillating between life and death, they receive two tiny babies, 13 weeks prematurely. This time, a struggle for life begins. The acclaimed author and now father of four, Juha Itkonen has written an autobiographical book about an extraordinary year in his family. It’s a deeply touching and relentless account, told by a modern father who despite all his commitment cannot sometimes be but an outsider.

“Juha Itkonen’s book Beyond Our Reach tells about losing an unborn baby and about having twins – all within one year. The story is as terrifying as a thriller, and harrowingly honest. Itkonen knows what he writes about, and we feel it on each and every page. The narrator and his wife Rose swing from despair to hope, and the book’s bright ending gets its depth from the darkness the family has pulled through.” – Kjell Westö

info

  • Year of publication

    2018

  • Original title

    Ihmettä kaikki

  • Page count

    294

  • Original publisher

    Otava Publishing Company

Reviews

  • Nordic Council Literature Prize jury

    "Close to death and life is when we are at our most fragile and vulnerable: confusion and clarity both abound. This is where Itkonen leads the reader – courageously and openly, towards the difficult, the painful and the uncertain. It says a lot about the author’s skill that he superbly manages to combine sharp-sighted and analytical observation with an extremely moving and intimate narrative style. The result is this novel, which is shockingly sensitive in all its undauntedness."

  • Hufvudstadsbladet

    “Some lovely sentimentality, some neonatal facts, and a sincere attempt to comprehend and describe a period of less than a year of incredible events in life and death. Of course I love this book.”

  • Helsingin Sanomat

    “On this ride, a man crumbles many a time. But the author knows his profession and excels at putting into words something that borders on the impossible: the question of life and death, applied to one’s own children, goes beyond reason ... The real protagonists of this story are the small ones. "

  • Author Kjell Westö

    "The story is as terrifying as a thriller, and harrowingly honest. Itkonen knows what he writes about, and we feel it on each and every page. The narrator and his wife Rose swing from despair to hope, and the book’s bright ending gets its depth from the darkness the family has pulled through."

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