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A Fool's Paradise [Hardcover]

Anita Konkka

Price: CDN$ 12.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

July 1 2006 Coleman Dowell Finnish Literature

"Marriage kills love. That's why people get married." The unmarried and unemployed narrator of A Fool's Paradise is seeing a married man and must, because of her social security, apply and interview for jobs she does not want. Her life is founded on unsustainable contradictions. As her lover considers recommitting to his wife and as her poverty becomes increasingly dire, she confronts the temptations and contradictions of conventional success, but she is also overcome by jealousy and dissatisfaction. She travels to Russia and spies on her lover's wife. She takes a job that she hates. This precise and intensely personal novel describes the narrator's growing sense that freedom becomes, itself, a kind of routine, and shows her burgeoning desire to break out of it.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press; Tra edition (July 1 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1564784223
  • ISBN-13: 978-1564784223
  • Product Dimensions: 19.9 x 14.2 x 1.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,986,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Overeducated, unemployed, recently dumped, and depressed, the 38-year-old nameless narrator is a familiar American character, except she's Finnish. It is the 1980s, her married Russian lover has recently left her, and the narrator compulsively writes in her journal as she tries to put her life back together. Obsessed with omens, astrology, dreams, fortune-tellers, and other objects of the paranormal, the narrator is both funny and morose. Konkka does a masterful job of making the narrator's internal romantic turmoil mirror the political turmoil in post-Communist Europe. Some political allusions seem to be lost in translation, but with references to writers from Lao Tzu to Yeats, Konkka's crisp prose and understated humor transcend cultural limitations. Marta Segal
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, dream-like. Jan. 5 2012
By Aoi Birdland - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This novel truly is a little gem--full of beautiful, haunting images of the narrator's inner life presented as a series of vignettes on the disquietude of ordinary existence.

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