Edgar and Susan: Done to Death
It is lost time that concerns Edgar, not lost life. He is a man of small patience and large practicality. He’s a Swede. The two are travelling north to the Henning Mankell writing residence. In Susan’s application, she described her project as a reworking of a play, a two act that had been given a “workshop production” in New York. But that was before Henning Mankell died.
All relationships have unwritten rules that define the shared but singular experience of being one half of a couple; the constant rub and friction that manifests itself in long awkward silences or bouts of fiery discontent. Susan and Edgar carry the weight of their individual pasts, expectations, and compromises differently. They exist in uncomfortable togetherness, the confidence of their sexual harmony diminished with age, carefully avoiding the reality of physical loneliness.
Susan is a dreamer, a writer obsessed with the mystique of her Scandi writing hero, Henning Mankell; an American whose outsider status is a daily reminder that she will never really fit in, with Edgar, or in Sweden.
Edgar is a pragmatist, analytical and practical; a Swede that lives by the rules, and the unspoken rules that he curates to fit his own purpose and beliefs. His self-assurance is deep; it’s in the language he speaks, the land he lives in, in his skin.
But what happens when a pilgrimage to Mankell’s revered writing residence takes an unexpected turn, amplifying the differences between them, the silent bitterness between Edward and Susan that lingers just below the surface?
Edgar and Susan: Done to Death is a short story that explores the fragility and often absurd pettiness of human relationships, the concepts of autonomy, freedom, and human rights.
Sarah Hollister is an American writer and playwright, living the Scandinavian reality on one of the 24,000 islands in the Swedish archipelago near Stockholm. Her plays Sisters’ Dance and Relative Truth have been produced in New York City, and she is a member of the Dramatikerförbund (Sweden’s drama guild), which awarded her residences at the Henning Mankell House in northern Sweden. She is a founding member of the Stockholm Writers Festival.