Review: The Long Answer by Anna Hogeland ’11

Review: The Long Answer by Anna Hogeland 11

Shay Campolongo, Contributing Writer

Anna Hogeland ‘11, paints a unique and diverse portrait of motherhood in her novel The Long Answer. Hogeland tells the story through the eyes of a pregnant Anna, who parallels the author’s life experiences, we see images of motherhood and maternal loss throughout people’s lives.

The book begins when Anna’s older sister Margot calls to tell her she had a miscarriage. This acts as a catalyst for the stories that are about to unfold. Through the other stories, we see discussions of surrogacy, teen pregnancy, toxic relationships, sisterhood and the intimate connections that pregnancy creates.

The climax of the book occurs after Anna recently experienced a miscarriage herself. Anna meets a woman named Marisol, who has grown children of her own who don’t live with her and has also been a surrogate mother for someone she used to know. “I needed stories like this now,” says Anna to the reader, “to tell me what was possible in the course of a life after the life you’d planned died inside you. I searched for these stories everywhere…always left wanting. I needed them to tell me how to remain intact.”

The way Hogeland paints each woman’s story masterfully with respect and empathy leaves the reader wanting more. Even though I have never experienced these things, the way she writes them is so authentic that you feel as though you are the one experiencing these deeply personal and intimate stories. She is able to put into writing the deeply unique connection made between women through pregnancy and loss.