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Sügis. Tootsi-lugude järg / I ja II by…
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Sügis. Tootsi-lugude järg / I ja II

by Oskar Luts

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I’ve been reading through the complete "Tootsi lood" (Tales of Toots) a classic Estonian series by Oskar Luts and had enjoyed the first three books “Kevade" (Spring) (this childhood tale is one of most beloved Estonian books of all time), “Suvi: Pildikesi noorpõlvest I ja II" (Summer) and "Tootsi pulm / Argipäev" (Toot’s Wedding/Work Day). I was disappointed with this 4th one “Sügis” (Autumn) which was also the final in the official series until “Talve” (Winter) emerged in 1992 from a newly discovered Oskar Luts manuscript completed by Arnold Karu. Sügis also had a winding path to publication as only Book I was published in the author’s lifetime in 1938 with Book II’s manuscript finally being added for a complete publication in 1988 during the final Soviet-Estonian thaw years before Estonia’s renewed independence in 1991. There isn't anything specifically anti-Soviet in Book II, so the reason for the delay is unknown to me unless Arno's coldness to and eventual rejection of his wife Virve Kivi was read by the Soviet censors as Estonia's rejection of communism and longing for a return to its youthful independence symbolized by Arno's youthful crush on Raja Teele. That is probably reading too much into it ;)

Sügis (Autumn) has the least to do with Joosep Toots who had been the central figure in the books up to this point. Instead Book I concentrates on cranky village tailor Georg Adniel Kiir and his attempts to finally buy a farm homestead for himself and Book II has Arno Tali relating the tale of his miserable marriage to his friend Lesta. Very few moments of comedy make appearances to relieve the tension of the depressing stories. At least most of the other regular cast of characters including village ne’er do well Kristjan Lible do make brief cameo appearances and one new figure Ants Paavel, a retired captain of artillery, is introduced. A rushed ending in the last few pages built around the betrothal of Tõnisson to Teele’s younger sister Liide feels like a forced happy ending tacked on to the grimness that has preceded it.

I read “Sügis" in the original Estonian. It has not had any complete foreign language translations to date as of mid 2014. Only “Sügis" Book I has been translated into Russian. You can check for updated translations at the Estonian Literature Centre website here http://www.estlit.ee/elis/?cmd=book&id=09301 ( )
  alanteder | Jun 21, 2014 |
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