Straightforward but gentle
TOO RESTLESS TO BE AN AUTHOR
7/30/19: Anna-Leena Harkonen is talking on the phone. She seems concerned and distracted. Soon she disappears into the kitchen and then into the bedroom. She sounds sad. She has just received a phone call no one wants to receive: her longtime friend and classmate from drama school has died, without warning, at the age of 50. Continue >>
Honest to the extreme
FICTIONAL EVENTS, TRUE EMOTIONS
7/30/19: Anna-Leena Harkonen is not afraid of tackling difficult topics. In her novels, she draws on the highs and lows of her own life. The events may be fictional, but the emotions are always true. In her native Finland, Anna-Leena has been a public figure for more than three decades. She has never been afraid of putting herself out there in her books. Continue >>
SINS OF MY YOUTH
7/30/19: A while ago, I thanked a colleague for writing one of her novels. “Oh, that sin of my youth?” she said with a laugh, sounding slightly apologetic. A sin of her youth? I wonder why authors are so merciless about their older works. The biggest sin of my youth is my debut novel, How to Kill a Bull. This book has been both a source of joy and a burden. Continue >>
NO OFFENSE, BUT . . .
7/30/19: “No offense, but why is your head so small?” This is what a friend of mine, as a child, asked a boy who had just moved next door. I don’t think children mean any harm with their blunt comments, but a “No offense, but . . .” from an adult usually means that you are about hear an insult masked as concern or caring. Continue >>
WHEN AINO MET JEAN
7/30/19: I recently read a biography of Aino Sibelius, the wife of composer Jean Sibelius. The book included a great deal of the correspondence between Aino and Jean. I wasn’t expecting a book of this type to make me laugh aloud—or to sometimes irritate me. Aino was more conservative than her friends, who thought she “felt inferior to men because she belittled herself.” Continue >>
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE TOUCHY
7/30/19: I used to think there was something wrong with me. And there definitely is—but I used to think something was horribly and fundamentally wrong with me. But no: according to psychological tests, I’m a highly sensitive person. This personality trait—if you can call it a trait—has not been talked about extensively until recently. Continue >>
WHEREVER YOU ARE
7/30/19: I’m obsessed with the Titanic. I have several books about the ship, and I have seen all the documentaries. Of course, I have also seen the 1997 movie—only twice, though. When I visited New York a few years ago, the high point of my trip was an exhibition about the Titanic. The same exhibition was later on display at the Estonian Maritime Museum in Tallinn. Continue >>
Photo: Mari Lahti
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Fictional Events, True Emotions. Anna-Leena Harkonen is not afraid of tackling difficult topics.
In her novels, she draws on the highs and lows of her own life. The events may be fictional, but the emotions are always true.
Sins of My Youth. A while ago, I thanked a colleague for writing one of her novels. “Oh, that sin of my youth?” she said with a laugh, sounding slightly apologetic. A sin of her youth? I wonder why authors are so merciless about their older works.
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