This series represents more than simple storytelling. À la Thomas Mann and Dostoevsky, it explores questions about the cursed human condition. In the first volume the hero battles against the land and his crooked neighbour. Must one become corrupt oneself to obtain justice? In the second part his son goes to town to study. He loses his faith in God but realises that goodness is more important than truth. In the third part this son joins the 1905 revolution; this volume could be a guidebook for anyone who thinks that we can improve the world through violence. The fourth part matches Strindberg in its description of married life and the eternal struggle between the sexes. The fifth book is a majestic summing up – a coda similar to that of Goethe’s Faust – with its own ‘Verweile doch…’ moment.
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.