In her collection of stories Ana Linden refuses to have her characters see through rose colored glasses or have happily ever after futures.
Don’t expect extraordinary individuals, always able to make the world a better place, when they can hardly save themselves. This world is not one of untainted, selfless, righteous spiritual leaders either, just as it is not one devoid of violence, crime, pain or punishment.
In Albatross, the opening story, Linden gives us an honest perspective of husband and wife regarding the staleness of their marriage.
Then there is the single woman’s paranoia and fears that accompany what it’s like to live alone after being robbed.
And the story about the affair. “The moment we met, we knew the week spent together would be one of those times so essentially shallow, that it can have nothing less than a profound effect on both of us.”
Ana Linden has the ability to surprise and at times shock. Her characters are often “running away from someone, something or running to catch them, him, whoever.”
Running away from memories and the past, Ana Linden’s stories challenge us to dig deeper where safety lies. Safety and home are recurring themes in these stories. In Freedom her character builds herself a home with an inheritance: It’s so fulfilling to have an endpoint in sight, after all this time.”
A second layer to these stories has to do with self-awareness. Not the fluffy kind but an honest awareness of the fear of losing one’s identity by getting too close. The kind that brings you to the scary heart of emotions and thoughts, of guilt and doubt. The kind that makes you feel uneasy and provides insightful (sometimes horrific) snippets of what goes on behind closed doors and minds.
Ana Linden writes with a certain innocence, breaks the rules and is at times obscure and experimental. Like her nameless characters she is unconventional in her writing. A writers’ writer, one might say.
Click here for an excerpt of Albatross.