Anita Konkka is a Finnish novel writer. She has published since 1970 eleven novels, essays, radio-plays, and a dream-book. She is a tireless scholar of love and love relationships, problematic ones, too. However, she doesn't portray her characters as enervated by love or otherwise with furrowed brow. In these Finnish latitudes she is able to write about love and its troublesome and unhappy aspects humorously and as though smiling, not derisively or with pity but friendly and understandingly.
It has been observed from Anita Konkka's novels that dreams are important for her. Dreams appeared already in her debut work Break Free. Life's roughness, but at same time its diversity, a young woman's struggle for independence, a powerful father figure, unsuccessful love relationships and a lack of confidence with regard to work live their own lives in Konkka's dreams.
Anita Konkka took up the same same search for herself in her novel Winter in Ravenna. The dreams live there, too, quite as much as in the trilogy's other novels, The Daughter and The Same Family. In the Fool's Paradise was also constructed from the I's thoughts and the diary-like narrative, where reality and dreams overlapped. In the book Woman in the Mirror of Dreams the dreams have finally received the leading role. The explanations and interpretations follow them. Konkka has extensively familiarized herself with dream studies in various parts of the world. She relies on myths and ideas for her own dreams and brings forth many different methods of interpretation. Freudians, Jungians and many more modern concepts proceed side by side. Konkka interprets them crosswise. Thus the merits of the book are increased. Dream interpretation is witchcraft where no single truth exists.
A Fool's Paradise now in English.
"A remarkable creation of a 'woman living on the edge,' A Fools Paradise is a powerful, disturbing novel in the great tradition of Jean Rhys and Violette Leduc."
"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 other favorite pine tree writ-ing 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 casroff, muses darkly about the inequitable relations between men and women. This is Konkka's first work tobe translated into English. As rendered here, her prose is wonderfully cadenced and vivid; it establishes her nameless character as a memorable figurenot quite a cynic and not completely a sensualist, and none the wiser through experience.
A Fool's Paradise ANITA KONKKA, TRANS. FROM THE FINNISH BY A.D. HAUN AND OWENWITESMAN. Dalkey Archive, $12.95 paper (133p) ISBN 1-56478-422-3
This page was last updated on 06/04/06.