A Fool's Paradise

Anita Konkka, Author, A. D. Haun, Translator, Owen Witesman, Translator
Anita Konkka, Author, A. D. Haun, Translator, Owen Witesman, Translator , trans. from the Finnish by A.D. Haun and Owen Witesman. Dalkey Archive $12.95 (133p) ISBN 978-1-56478-422-3
Reviewed on: 05/22/2006
Release date: 07/01/2006
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The querulous, nameless, love-weary narrator of Konkka's 1988 novel might have emerged from a Jim Jarmusch film: in her late 30s, recently unemployed, her engagement broken off and in love with an unavailable man, the narrator is a cerebral, dreamy observer of the flotsam of life as she sits at the base of her favorite pine tree writing in a blue notebook. She imagines the lives of people she sees, diligently records her dreams and childhood memories that intrude in the narrative like non sequiturs, and dabbles in astrology, which underscores that "everything has some diabolical purpose." When her lover, Alexander, goes back to his wife, Vera, a Russian woman who reminds the narrator of capricious characters in Dostoyevski, the narrator grows obsessively jealous, invents an elaborate scenario between husband and wife, and, confronting her status as a castoff, muses darkly about the inequitable relations between men and women. This is Konkka's first work to be translated into English. As rendered here, her prose is wonderfully cadenced and vivid; it establishes her nameless character as a memorable figure—not quite a cynic and not completely a sensualist, and none the wiser through experience. (July 25)

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