Anna Heinämaa


Hope is the Last to Die is a short story first published in an anthology in 1993. It tells the story of an unknown woman who unexpectedly finds a new meaning for her life. The resolution of the story is left open--it's not quite clear whether the ending is happy or unhappy. What is certain, though, is that an aspiration for change has taken place in the woman's mind--and maybe that by itself can be seen as a positive ending to the otherwise rather sad story.

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The Book of Maria tells the story of Linda. The story begins on New Year's Eve, after a party, when Linda meets a woman called Maria. Linda leaves the party with Maria, to spend the rest of the night with her at her apartment somewhere in Moscow. In the morning Linda is no longer quite so sure that Maria exists--reality, dreams, hopes and fears start to mingle together in her mind. Regardless of the disbelief of everyone around her, Linda clings to the idea that Maria must exist. She commences a seemingly hopeless search in Moscow, a city of ten million people.

The Book of Maria is a story about women--the one who searches is a woman, the one sought for is a woman. Linda's desperate effort to find the vanished Maria can be intepreted as an attempt to find a lost part of herself. Thus the resolution of the book does not lie in the traditional finding but rather in the process of searching. On her journey to the innermost part of her mind, Linda gradually begins to see herself and the world around her very differently--and to accept and cherish what she sees.

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The Phantoms of Power is an account of one person's childhood in the 1970s. The play proceeds with seemingly fragmented episodes from the life of the narrator as a child. The voice of the narrator, as she recounts her past life, is interrupted by these episodes, as though she was leafing through the pages of an old photograph album.

Gradually the pictures start to take on a life of their own. As the play proceeds, it becomes more and more clear that the narrator is not being honest with herself. The more she tries to persuade herself that her past is merely a series of events that can be arranged into a story, the more she gets entangled in the suppressed feelings of her childhood, without herself realizing what is happening to her.

© Anna Heinämaa 2008