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The setting is an idyllic Alpine village where a woman's underwear factory nestles in the woods. Two factory workers, Brigitte and Paula, dream and talk about finding happiness, a comfortable home and a good man. They realize that their quest will be as hard as work at the factory. Brigitte subordinates her feelings and goes for Heinz, a young, plump, up-and-coming businessman. With Paula, feelings and dreams become confused. She gets pregnant by Erich, the forestry worker. He's handsome, so they marry. Brigitte gets it right. Paula gets it wrong. Using the conventions and language of romantic fiction, Elfriede Jelinek has written a moving tragedy whose power lies in its refusal to take at face value its characters' dreams and aspirations.