En låda apelsiner (A Crate of Oranges; 2023)

”Jackie, shall we write a book about this?”

I sat at a cafe, opposite journalist and author Jackie Jakubowski. And I was completely taken. Jackie, who was born in Katowice, in southern Poland, but came to Sweden in 1970 as an 18-year-old refugee, had just described his dramatic childhood to me. It was a childhood unlike anything I had ever heard of. I was stunned – and I was moved.

He looked at me earnestly. And he replied: ”If anyone is going to write the story of my life, it’s me.”

His answer was of course self-evident, and my suggestion almost presumptuous – a spontaneous reaction to what I had just heard. We started talking about other things.

Three years later, I got a phone call, from Jackie. He wanted to see me, and we met again in a cafe.

“Are you still interested in that book we were talking about?” he asked.

And then he told me that he had been diagnosed with a serious illness, one that would soon end his life. ”I will never be able to write my story,” he said. ”Would you want to?”

I immediately answered yes. And Jackie kept telling me. For as long as he could.

The novel A Crate of Oranges is the result.

                                                                                                                                                        Lena Einhorn

En låda apelsiner.


Lena Einhorn can really tell a story so that you are captivated… And then there are surprises in the biography, surprises which wait until the end. But perhaps it is the description of the incomprehensible and appalling vulnerability over the decades that the Polish Jews have lived through that really remains after reading the book. It is a gripping and incredibly well-written history lesson and biography that Lena Einhorn has written.

Gunnar Bolin, Kulturnytt, Swedish Public Radio


At times, I read A Crate of Oranges as a thriller, where clues and details are skillfully planted only to be explained later on. The title’s crate of oranges is one of many examples. At other moments during the reading I have to wipe tears from my eyes. ”A Crate of Oranges” is a true life story, but it is also a Novel with a capital N, and with the ability to do all that with the reader that only literature can… It has been a long time since I read a parent-child account that is so intimately and earnestly described, with all the ambivalence it contains… I close the book with the somewhat dual feeling of having shared a great destiny but also of having been seduced by a furiously good novel.

Annina Rabe, Expressen


How to write another author’s life story? Einhorn says in the afterword that Jakubowski initially rejected her desire to do it, but that later, when he was struck by the disease that after years of struggle took his life in 2020, he himself reached out and wondered if she was still interested. So it is also a novel written with a large portion of love for its main character. Here, a writer speaks who has been deeply moved by the destiny she depicts.

Gabriel Itkes-Sznap, Dagens Nyheter


Einhorn has been the custodian of Jakubowski’s story with an unfailing tenderness and an impressive capacity for empathy, that both fills in and opens up the story’s many chasms. This constant uncertainty means that you read the book both as a striking portrayal and as a skillfully written tale from the time when people allowed themselves the luxury of taking a long time to tell their life story.

Sinziana Ravini, Göteborgs-Posten


After reading it, mainly the image of the father remains in me. It is the portrait of a man who does not allow himself to be portrayed, he is constantly slipping away, driven by fear, denial and a desperate hunger for life, on the run throughout his life, until the flight stops, in the slums of Bergsjön outside Gothenburg.

Carl-Michael Edenborg, Aftonbladet


I recommend you to read A Crate of Oranges, perhaps especially those of you who were not familiar with Jackie Jakubowski, because for you it will be a captivating novel, while those of us who knew him are reminded of his absence.

Nina Solomin, Fokus


Einhorn manages Jakubowski’s story well and has a knack for laying out pieces of the puzzle that compel the reader to continue. The book is written with a rhythm, while at the same time it leaves gaps that the reader seeks to fill.

Jonas Frånander, BTJ (Library services)