Veera Saar

Short stories Veera Saar

Veera Saar (born Veera-Alise Döring, 28. III 1912 – 20. VII 2004) was a prose-writer and teacher.

She was born near Yamburg in Russia, whither her parents had emigrated from Kadrina parish near Tapa. The family returned to Estonia when the future writer was seven. In 1931 she graduated from Jõhvi Gymnasium, and in 1937 from the faculty of philosophy at the University of Tartu. In 1940 she defended her master’s thesis on the subject of folklore, Luust sõrmus ('The Bone Ring'). Academically she was a member of Lembela student sorority from 1935. From 1937 to 1958 she worked as a teacher of Estonian language and literature, in Tartu, Kehtna and Jäneda. From 1958 she lived at Aruküla (near Tallinn), where she wrote most of her books. Lõokesed taeva all ('Larks Under the Sky'), written while working as a teacher, brought the author second prize in a novel competition, the highest one to be awarded that year. This was a turning point in Veera Saar’s life. It was 1958 when the 46-year-old woman, threw in her lot with literature and gave up her teaching post where she was loved and appreciated.

Veera Saar’s realistic novels and short prose constitute a pithy and, especially with hindsight, in many respects characteristic chapter in the literature of Estonia in the second half of the twentieth century. Her works are a summary of complex times – emigrations and returns, deportations and wars, tenacious toil for the sake of one’s children’s future, regardless of the state system.

On the basis of Saar’s novel Ukuaru (1969), a film of the same name was made (1973, directed by Leida Laius), one of the classics of Estonian cinema. The strong female characters in both the novel and the film have been presented as Estonian archetypes.

L. P. (Translated by C. M.)

Books in Estonian

Lõokesed taeva all. Tallinn: Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus, 1960, 222 lk.
Üle allikate. Tallinn: Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus, 1963, 267 lk.
Ukuaru. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1969, 342 lk.
Aprillipäev. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1981, 189 lk.
Kraakuvi mägi. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1987, 271 lk.
Maa hind. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1990, 270 lk.
Kodutee. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1996, 206 lk.
Käritsa leib. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1999, 180 lk.

Sõit mustikametsa. Jutustus. Tallinn: Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus, 1952, 40 lk.
Põlatud maa. Jutustusi. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1965, 156 lk.
Elas kord mees. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1975, 176 lk.
Isa niinepuu. Jutustusi, novelle, laaste. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1977, 128 lk.
Ira. Tallinn: Perioodika, 1983, 70 lk.

Neid ammuseid aegu. Kirja pandud 1998.–1999. aastal. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 2000, 196 lk.