by Rein Raud, translated by Matthew Hyde - £11.95 Vagabond Voices (2017)
paperback ISBN 13: 9781908251701 | ISBN 10: 1908251700
This thoughtful spy novel cum love story is set mainly in Estonia during the dying days of the Soviet Union, but also in Russia, Finland and Sweden. A group of young pro-independence dissidents devise an elaborate scheme for smuggling copies of KGB files out of the country, and their fates become entangled, through family and romantic ties, with the security services never far behind them.
Through multiple viewpoints the author evokes the curious minutiae of everyday life, offers wry observations on the period through personal experience, and asks universal questions about how interpersonal relationships are affected when caught up in momentous historical changes.
This sometimes wistful examination of how the Estonian Republic was reborn after a long and stultifying hiatus speaks also of the courage and complex chemistry of those who pushed against a regime whose then weakness could not have been known to them.
(Price & availability last checked: July 2017)