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.
? But you could not help forgiving him with a laugh for his screech ing, on account of his very adaptable and musical voice. And then, in that dark train compartment between Peedu and Vapramae it all came flooding back: It had happened only two years before in the late winter of 1 941. One evening, I bumped into amicus Harrak on the snowy pavement of Aia Street in Tartu, in the light of the street lamps and right outside the Vanemuine Theatre. Harrak was studying Art History like Ilmar. We stood
lived on the upper floor of an old two-storey wooden house, now demolished, on Ouna Street. There were only the two apartments in the building and behind the house lay an Lead Piping 63 ancient apple orchard which was surprisingly extensive for this central city district. I had keys to Uncle’s apartment. We climbed the stairs with their faint smell of polish and stepped into the hall of the apartment. For some reason (or perhaps because we entered without switching on the light) it was the
was doing I cannot rightly say. Then someone shouted: “ Anybody with compromising stuff - overboard with it!” Ten seconds later two briefcases flew from the stem into the water. A couple of lighter objects followed; I imagine a couple of the passengers had thrown away their revolvers. And I rum maged in my jacket, anorak, and trouser-pockets in search of the key. So that I could open my suitcase and throw the manuscript into the sea. But the key was nowhere to be found. I had no doubt lost it in
positively support Soviet rule - You see, supporting one type of rule precludes the support of the other types. Making a decision of that kind requires a good deal of time and consideration. A good deal more, at any rate, than these rather perfunctory chances for comparison which I have been given. And I have to admit: a number of the principles, or at least The Conspiracy the practices, of Soviet rule are so alien to my way of thinking that I fear that 1 will, for a good while y e t. . “
be out of solitary by Thursday, i.e. the morning of the day after tomorrow. I remember how, the Wednesday night, I woke up in the yellowish rheumy darkness of the cell, actually only one quarter darkness, since the Ilyich lamp burnt all night long. I woke to the uneasy breathing of twenty-two men, the air heavy with the night fug and the cold sea mist. Everyone, apart from Elken and Raik, was asleep. Elken was standing at the window, his back to the cell, looking out into the darkness. Raik was