FORTY-NINE DAYS by Christel Janssen

FORTY-NINE DAYS

A Sensuous Journey in the Modern Afterlife
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KIRKUS REVIEW

In this debut memoir, a qi gong teacher and acupuncturist details her supernatural connection with a former lover.

On the eve of her wedding to another man, Janssen rendezvoused with Umberto, whom she discovered on an internet dating site. Although not initially impressed with his charms, she embarked on a hot love affair with him in Hawaii, lasting 49 days, the amount of time a soul spends in the bardo (“the in-between state between earth and sky”). During that period, she witnessed the drama to which Umberto became prone—relatives swept away by a tsunami and the deaths of both his parents within a few weeks. After Janssen ended their liaison she received word that Umberto had suffered a fatal heart attack. Moments later, he communicated with her via her laptop. Umberto’s strange encounters continued; he was declared dead more than once, but each time, he reached out to Janssen. The two shared a bond, regardless of their romantic status. As Umberto seemed to effortlessly traverse between life and death and the author shared her conversations with him, she lost credibility with some friends and associates at the Sixth Sense Center, where she studied. Ultimately, she severed ties with the supposedly nine-lives Umberto, who flourished despite his many health scares. Even Janssen became exasperated at one point: “For the very first time, I am not impressed by his return from death. For the first time, I feel rather irritated. I don’t want to hear about his dying, death certificates, or his family dealing with the hospital.” Janssen’s story remains engrossing and unforgettable; however, some may find it difficult to believe. The author describes herself as a visionary, offering the childhood example of spying her dead uncle in a place where her mother saw only a stinkbug. The memoir is generally well-written and logically structured. A few unresolved issues are distracting—such as the introduction of her relationship with Ravindu, a magician who declared her the woman of his dreams and took her to Las Vegas, and her link to Lennard, whom she married the day after she met Umberto. Janssen also assumes a certain level of familiarity with New Age beliefs. The settings—primarily Hawaii with some excursions to the author’s native Netherlands—add interest to the book.

A captivating life-and-death account for the open-minded that may strain credulity for others.

Pub Date: April 3rd, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-692-87114-0
Page count: 264pp
Publisher: Spontaneous Movement
Program: Kirkus Indie
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