Luise Vaher

Luise Vaher (née Kapstas; 3 September / 21 August 1912 – 14 February 1992) was a prose writer.

Vaher was born in Valga County, attended school in Valga, studied at Võru Teachers’ Seminary and Valga Girls’ Gymnasium. During the first Soviet occupation in 1940–41, she participated in establishing the Soviet rule, being, for instance, secretary of the executive committee of Valga County. She participated in the war as a frontline nurse in the Estonian Rifle Corps. Vaher worked as a newspaper editor in Valga and was head of the Department of Education in Valga County. He joined the Communist Party in 1948 but was expelled in 1950, being accused of kulak (big landowner) origin. Her membership in the party was restored in 1960. From 1960, Vaher was a professional writer, a member of the Estonian Writers’ Union from 1961. She is buried in Viljandi.

Vaher’s literary creation began with prose pieces published in the press. In 1957 and 1958, she received the second prize in the short story competition of the journal Looming. This was followed by the third prize of the novel competition for Emajõe jutustus (‘The Story of the Emajõgi River’), which dealt with village life in the postwar years. The major part of her creation consists of novels: the trilogy Rindeõde (‘Frontline Nurse’, 1965), Tormipöörises (‘In the Whirl of the Tempest’, 1982), Põlev pärisosa (‘The Burning Inheritance’, 1987, the A. H. Tammsaare Literary Award), and the dilogy Päeva palge ees (‘In Broad Daylight’, 1968, the third place in the novel competition of 1967) and Meelespealillede hõng (‘The Fragrance of Forget-me-nots’, 1983; the same novel, under the preliminary title Ma purustasin päikese (‘I Destroyed the Sun’), received a consolation prize in the 1965 novel competition). Vaher’s books are mostly concentrated on her personal experience and emotions and are set in the 1940s–1950s, dealing with choices related to the new political order, the war events and postwar society. The characteristic features of Vaher’s creation are striving for a broad panorama and depiction of an enterprising female protagonist.

A. K. (Translated by I. A.)

Books in Estonian

Emajõe jutustus. Tallinn: Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus, 1960, 524 lk [2. trükk: 1974]
Rindeõde. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1965, 306 lk [2. trükk: 1982]
Päeva palge ees. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1968, 247 lk [2. trükk: 1983]
Rindeõde. Tormipöörises. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1982, 638 lk
Päeva palge ees. Meelespealillede hõng. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1983, 464 lk
Põlev pärisosa. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1987, 334 lk

Short prose
Katrina Üle: jutustused. Tallinn: Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus, 1962, 260 lk
Reportaaž Tuhande ja Rõõmu tänavalt: jutustus noore põlvkonna kasvatamise probleemidest. Tallinn: Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus, 1962, 86 lk