Set in the 1920s, this novel follows a boy born to poor parents who fights his way up the social ladder, finally landing a place in the prime minister’s office. But fate lets him down: the Soviet and German occupations deny him the chance of a great career. He joins the nationalists to work towards the restoration of the Estonian Republic, passing up the opportunity to escape to the West offered by a representative of the Vatican. He lives the remainder of his life – some forty years – doing menial work: making suitcases in a factory. A metaphor for the whole generation.
By Mihkel Mutt
Mihkel Mutt is one of the most popular living Estonian writers and the long-time editor-in-chief of publications such as the weekly newspaper Sirp and the literary magazine Looming. In the late 2000s and early 2010s, Mutt was busy publishing his memoirs, but in 2013 he made a successful return to literary fiction with his novel The Cavemen Chronicle, which he has followed with The Estonian Circumciser. Occidental Estonia and The Inner Immigrant have recently been published in English.