The Conspiracy & Other Stories
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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.
THE CONSPIRACY & OTHER STORIES iw “Jaan Kross’ scope and depth make him a world writer” DORIS LESSING, INDEPENDENT The Conspiracy was bom in Tallinn in 1 9 20 . He studied Law at the University of Tartu and worked for two years as a teacher until his arrest and deportation, with countless other Estonians, to Siberia in 1 9 4 6 . In 1 9 5 4 he was released and returned to Tallinn, where he devoted himself to poetry and to translating the classics, including Shakespeare, Balzac and Stefan Zweig
I would rise as they arrived and hand Flora the roses from the vase while declaiming . . . And at the same time I planned - or perhaps even promised myself - to be a gentleman after that, keeping silent about all those dubious events, Flora’s flight from Tallinn, Kimmel, rumours of betrothal and the Germanification of the day before yesterday . . . And at that very moment Karl entered the restaurant with his sister and his Bella. Karl stepped inside, in advance of the girls, then let them pass
A man of medium height and around forty-five years of age, and with a small moustache and a shiny bald pate who seemed dangerous not so much on account of innate cruelty but on account of his experienced and insistent manner, sat waiting for me behind a desk. He opened an attache case in silence and placed my novel, in the temporary binding I had given it, before him on the desk. I recognised both the unmistakable cover, the flyleaf and the ink blot on the top ends of the pages. The official
. If they checked with the light house or the radio station they would say that they hadn’t seen anything suspicious, no boats had sunk, no corpses washed ashore. And hiding on an flat islet of only a few hectares was impossible . . . Or perhaps a boat had really been carried away by the current. Perhaps some drowned man had been washed ashore. Then they would start to check - and time would pass . . . The proximity of the island did at any rate seem to me to give my variant a definite air of
studiorum” was and about how irreproachably hard I had been working. I even had a couple o f respectable marks to show for this, my first term. I also mentioned in passing, how independent I had already managed to become - thanks to the few dozen krooni I had earned contribu ting articles to some periodicals. About Flora I did not breathe a word. But then I went off to visit Aunt Sandra on Girgenson Street. This older sister of my mother’s was then in her sixties, a little bony, a little stiff,