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The Conspiracy and Other Stories

Kross, Jaan

Verlag: The Harvill Press, London, 1995
ISBN 10: 1860460054 / ISBN 13: 9781860460050
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Bibliografische Details

Titel: The Conspiracy and Other Stories

Verlag: The Harvill Press, London

Erscheinungsdatum: 1995

Einband: hardcover

Zustand: Very Good

Zustand des Schutzumschlags: Very Good

Auflage: First Impression.


minor rubbing along the edges of the cover. pages are clean, bright and tight. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 106162

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Inhaltsangabe: From one of Estonia's most renowned writers: " [Joan Kross] begins to look more and more like a prime Nobel Prize contender." - "Kirkus Reviews"

Jaan Kross spent eight years in Soviet prison camps. In these stories his alter ego Peeter Mirk records events and conversations that show the imprisoned lives Estonians were forced to lead in their own homes and country. We read of thwarted attempts to escape, the dilemma of a man who must save himself by sacrificing a friend, a prisoner's practical joke that backfires, and the grinding necessity of facing one's fate.

Despite the black thunderclouds beneath which Peeter Mirk and his fellow inmates have to lead their daily lives, the irony and insight which permeate these tales make each one a pleasure to read. Moreover they throw light upon the essential identity of the former Soviet Baltic states in a way that no history text can. The stories in "The Conspiracy" show Jaan Kross at his best: a writer of honesty, humor, and wisdom.


When these stories were written the Estonians were not masters of their own house: the Soviets had been the occupying Power since 1940, apart from the three years 1941-44 when the Nazis were in occupation. Young Estonians, conscripted into the armies of both belligerents, found themselves compelled to fight each other. This is the background of these six stories featuring Peeter Mirk, a young law student who is more often in than out of prison and labour camp during these years - like his creator Jaan Kross. Forever carrying a charge of guilt that he has only contributed to his friends' misfortunes, he describes two thwarted attempts at escape ("The Wound", "Lead Piping"), his own dilemma when he can save his life only by sacrificing a friend's ("The Stahl Grammar"), his hand in a practical joke perpetrated by prisoners on one of their number in Tallinn Central Jail, which goes badly wrong ("The Conspiracy"). The last two stories (" The Ashtray", "The Day Eyes Were Opened") involve train journeys, chance encounters, and the unavoidable necessity of giving Fate a run for its money.

If the tone is necessarily sombre as Kross recalls the years when Hitler and Stalin determined his countrymen's destiny, a wry humour keeps slipping through at every turn, which will suggest to the reader that Peeter Mirk must be cousin to the Good Soldier Schweik.

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