Saturday, 24 January 2015

15 Estonian Books Every Estonian Should Read

There are certain literary works which leave their mark on a nation's psyche.  Throughout time literature has not only shaped Estonian culture but has also in turn been shaped by it. These books, produced by some of Estonia's most talented and gifted writers have inspired us, enlightened us and educated us in the realms of fantasy, realism and history. There are many Estonian literary works held in high regard in Estonia that have also found success abroad. During the past century, many of Estonia's finest novels have been translated into other languages with Finnish, Swedish, German, Latvian and Russian being the most popular.

While Tammsaare may have penned the great Estonian novel Truth and Justice which took until 2014 to be translated into English, it is Jaan Kross who is recognised as being Estonia's greatest ever writer. Kross' work has been both nationally and internationally praised, receiving numerous awards including several nominations for the Nobel Prize for Literature.

If you are yet to discover the wonderful world of Estonian literature, now is a great time to start. The chilly winter months are an ideal time of year to lock yourself away and curl up with a good book. Here is a list comprising 15 of Estonia's finest literary works that every Estonian should read at least once in their lifetimes. These books will not only entertain, they will also take you back into pivotal periods of Estonian history and give you an accurate picture of the Estonia of yesteryear. If these books are not already classics they are certainly destined to be.

15 Estonian Books All Estonians Should Read

1. Truth and Justice I (Tõde ja õigus) by A.H. Tammsaare.
If you don't want to read the complete five book series, volume one is a must!

Translated into English 2014.

2. Spring I (Kevade) by Oskar Luts.
Part one was published in 1912, part two in 1913.


3. Son of Kalev (Kalevipoeg) by Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald

The national epic.

4. Avanger (Tasuja) by Eduard Bornhöhe


5. Names in Marble (Nimed marmortahvlil) by Albert Kivikas


6. Milkman of the Manor (Mäeküla piimamees) by Eduard Vilde

Translated into English 1976.

7. Kadri. Stepmother. (Kadri. Kasuema) by Silvia Rannamaa


8. The Tzar's Madman (Keisri hull) by Jaan Kross

Translated into English 1992.

9. Werewolf (Libahunt) by August Kitzberg


10. Treading Air (Paigallend) by Jaan Kross

Translated into English 2003.

11. The Same River (Seesama jögi) by Jaan Kaplinski

Translated into English 2009

12. Toomas Nipernaadi (Toomas Nipernaadi) by August Gailit


13. Old Barny aka November (Rehepapp) by Andrus Kivirähk


14. The Night of the Souls (Hingede öö) by Karl Ristikivi.


15. Old Estonian Fairy Tales by Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald

Translated into English 1953.