Ana's Way
by Manuela Draganova

"She had so many questions on her mind, questions with no answers…"

Somewhere in a small, contemporary, pre-democratic Eastern European country, Ana is not who or where she expected to be. A young married mother in one moment, a single businesswoman in an unlikely line of work in another, she is also a parent, investment partner, object of seduction, daughter, lover, and friend. As she grows into her many roles, circumstances frequently shift around her, leading her eventually to California where she confronts another twist in her path and the promise of new relationships to come.

The constant in Ana’s changing world is Ana herself. Her resilience through life’s unexpected tilts and tosses deliver her to each new phase with fresh-faced enthusiasm and bravado. She maintains optimism and integrity, always open to possibilities. Where others might let life’s disappointments dull their gusto, Ana plows ahead.

The narrative withholds names for the men in Ana’s life. Instead, descriptive monikers identify them, respectively, as The Golfer, The Collector, The Playboy, etc. The father of her child has a folksy nickname, and even Ana’s parents are termed formally and with single initials, as in her mother “Mrs. K.” These unusual conventions suggest that perhaps names were changed to protect the innocent (and not-so-innocent). But more significantly, these pseudonyms depersonalize and distance the characters they represent. Without a name, The Collector is less a person than a tool and obstacle in Ana’s path. She is the beating heart and struggling soul in this story; others fit as interchangeable nouns.

Inspired by true events, Ana’s story reads like an homage from an admirer who knows her perhaps even better than the book reveals. This is an intimate story told in a voice that loves Ana and reveres her achievements, positioning her as an aspirational character with the moxie and grit to inspire others.

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