Imagination needs inspiration to bloom.


The Seagull by Anton Chekhov

The Seagull, 1896, received disastrous reviews initually, but when it was produced again, in 1898, it was a success. The depressed characters are easy to identify with. Most people in the novel are unhappy because they love people that don't really see them. A seagull shot by a man - as suggested by the character Trigorin, himself an author - is a metaphor for a person destroyed by unrequited love.

The play challenges the actors as well as the audience and readers because of the smooth writing of scenes and the character's mood, instead of a conventional play. The readers have to interpret the characters, from clues presented to them, as the most important themes are hidden from the stage. As in real life, the characters prefer not to talk about what's really on their mind. Chekhov's tecnique of the stream-of-consciousness is claimed to be original for his time. His wanted to ask the readers questions, and not to answer them. He wanted to present the readers with certain clues, challenge them, but not present them with a solution. The sub-textual content makes the play a rare piece of the 1800's.

”… I have no rest from myself, and i feel that I'm devouring my own life, that in order to make the honey which I give away to someone out there, I rob my best flowers of their pollen, I tear apart the flowers themselves and trample their roots. Am I not a madman?” - Trigorin.


Expeditionen: Min kärlekshistoria by Bea Uusma

Three men. One hydrogen balloon. A planned journey across the North Pole. Something goes very wrong. Thirty years later they are found dead. It turns out they crashed on the ice in the middle of nowhere, only three days into their adventure. The year was 1897 and Salomon August Andrée, Knut Fraenkel and Nils Strindberg had to drag their two hundred kilos heavy sledges across the ice, trying to avoid the holes of open water, only to discover that the ice drifted in the opposite direction. After a while they managed to get ashore an ampty island they name White Island, where they spend their last days despite their supplies of food, clothes and weapons.

The author, Bea Uusma, is determined to find the cause of death. She is such an inspiring person. While others think something is interesting, and leave it at that, she, at the age of twelve, writes a melody for the Swedish Eurovision with lyrics about Trichinella Spiralis infection, Trichinosis - the commonly considered cause of death of the expedition participants, in the late 70's. When others watch a documentary and discusses it later, she studies to become a doctor, and graduates with the attitude to finally being able to investigate the scientific and biological elements profoundly – hopefully with the truth within reach. When others read a book about a mystery and suspect there is something to discover but ignore it, she actually manages to find financiers and gathers her own expedition, and sets out for the North Pole.

The common denominator is passion. The book is both a non-fictitious detective story, a biographical narrative about the author's obsession and a heart breaking love story. Among photographs, autopsy protocols and the search for new evidence are personal letters representing another story. A story about the youngest participant leaving his soon to be wife on the mainland, his love for her remaining in the letters found among everything else thirty years later.

Uusma lives and breathes the Andrée expedition, wanting to be a part of it, but is over a hundred years too late. She visits museums, searches archives, reads the participants diaries and journals, visits their homes, and even a medium. She walks in their footsteps and repeatedly tries to reach White Island. With new evidence in consideration, she systematically dismisses causes of death. Eventually, the mystery unfolds before her, with the reader at her side, hopefully getting a glimpse of her feeling of obsession and ultimate passion, something people incapabale of feeling glowing enthusiasm can never understand. This is a book written by and for obsessed people, living their lives to the outmost.

Bea Uusma earned the August Prize in 2013 for the book.

Impressive. Inspirational. Magnificent.


The Ruins of Us by Keija Parssinen

Growing up in an expatriate family in Saudi Arabia afflicts the main character Rosalie in many ways. She isn't able to find her place when returning to America, and for many years she dreams about the land of the dunes. When, many years later, she meets Abdullah, a Saudi sheik, and moves back to the Kingdom to start a family, she can finally breathe. Furthermore, being the wife of one of the richest men in the world has its advantages and there is nothing missing in her life. However, many years later, Abdullah marries a second wife, and Rosalie wonders how well she really knows her husband and where her real home is.

The book contains many interesting topics, and religion and culture make up a great deal of the story, hidden in causes and reflections, especially regarding the son, Faisal, and his identity struggle that escalates until it involves the whole family. The daughter, Mariam, is a fascinating and inspiring character that deserves much more space.

An important theme is the view of right and wrong, something that is influenced and decided by surrounding elements. Another recurring topic is prejudices, and their lack of meaning, between nations. Somehow, the book would be richer if not fulfilling some of them, though. The writing is colorful but inconsistent and repetitive. The story could have been so much more. Parssinen gets carried away and the outcome is weaker than the beginning. 

Parssinen, born in Saudi Arabia and growing up in an expatriate family, shares many similarities with the main character, Rosalie, but never moved back to Saudi Arabia as an adult. She, as well as Rosalie, longed for the Kingdom and writing about it was her way of copying with it.