Anders Loves Maria is not a story for the casual reader. It has a simple beginning-middle-end structure but it does jump between the past and present quite frequently so a little effort on the readers part is needed to understand what is going on.
Even though the story is essentially about the relationship of Anders and Maria, most of it takes place outside of the context of this relationship.
It is a story about “adulthood” in a modern age where coming-of-age seems to be completely arbitrary.
Anders von Silfersked
Our philandering protagonist Anders is the son of an extremely wealthy artistic recluse. He is an artistic photographer and much of his success is riding on the coat-tails of his mother. Despite his wealth and priviledge he considers himself a socialist and very much “down-to-earth”. He is a man of paradox in many ways. He is on the cusp of 30 and about to have his first child. His journey to proper adulthood is rocky to say the least.
26 year old Maria is the future mother of Anders’ child. An impulsive woman raised in the far north of Sweden under somewhat unfortunate circumstances. She is headstrong, stubborn and loving. Maria is a somewhat talented artist but can’t seem to get that career working for her. She met Anders at the Swedish Art Academy Konstfack. She tends to swear a lot.
Maria’s much older ex-boyfriend. Björn is 34 years old and has not once held a proper job. His special talent is avoiding responsibility and conflict. He is quite content playing in his band and taking what life gives him for each day that passes. He loves Maria unconditionally but puts in minimal effort to win her heart back. There are plenty of other women to enjoy in the meantime.
Insecure and slightly desperate Tina Törnros, from Maria’s hometown of Kukträsk. She runs the local petrol station and still lives in the house she grew up in. Maria and Tina have a complicated history of rivalry. Much is revealed about their past as the story unfolds. Readers would do well to pay attention to these things.
30 year old Jenny Bergström is an old friend of Anders from his childhood. A very talented and successful musician that once stole Ander’s heart and virginity.
Anna and Madame von Silfersked
Anders’ first girlfriend is currently his lesbian stepmother. Anna is a serious feminist that finds little funny when there is so much shit going on in the world. She is very protective of Anders and his family and works as their lawyer.
Agoraphobic Madame von Silfersked is Anders’ slightly batty mother. She hasn’t left her flat since Anders graduated from University.
Maria’s older brother is violently protective over his little sister. He has carried much responsibility over Maria from a very young age due to their parents alcoholism.