Nominated by:

Tallinn Central Library, Estonia

Publisher of nominated edition:

Vagabond Voices, UK

The Death of the Perfect Sentence

Rein Raud      

Translated from the Estonian by Matthew Hyde

This thoughtful spy novel cum love story is set mainly in Estonia during the dying days of the Soviet Union, but also in Russia, Finland, and Sweden. A group of young pro-independence dissidents devise a scheme for smuggling copies of KGB files out of the country, and their fates become entangled, through family and romantic ties, with security services never far behind them. Multiple viewpoints evoke the curious minutiae of everyday life, offer wry observations on the period through personal experience, and ask universal questions about how interpersonal relationships are affected when caught up in momentous historical changes. This sometimes wistful examination of how the Estonian Republic was reborn speaks also of the courage and complex chemistry of those who pushed against a regime whose then weakness could not have been known.

About the author

Rein Raud was born in 1961 in the family of Eno Raud and Aino Pervik, both children’s authors. He is the eldest of three children. His younger brother Mihkel Raud is a playwright, television personality, singer, guitarist, journalist and member of the Estonian Parliament; his sister Piret Raud is an artist. He is the grandson of playwright, poet and writer Mart Raud. He graduated from the Leningrad State University (now called Saint Petersburg State University) in 1985 in Japanese Studies and earned a PhD degree in Literary Theory at the University of Helsinki in 1994.

(from publisher)

Librarian’s comments

In this book, we are thrust into an exciting adventure, which is at once a love story and a spy mystery. It is set in Estonia, Finland and Sweden, around the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union. The tangled web of human relationships and political plotting are presented to us in a masterful way, by creating a distinct atmosphere, which is at once hopeful and fearful and wholly representative of the era of perestroika.

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