The bunker-like café in Tallinn known as “The Cave” is the epicenter of bohemian culture in Soviet-era Estonia. The café’s regulars, the “Cavemen,” escape the dreary reality above ground with vodka and high-minded discussion in their private hideaway. Told from the perspective of a gossip columnist, the novel traces the lives of several of these misfits as they attempt to pursue careers as artists, writers, and politicians in pre- and post-perestroika Estonia. The country’s march towards independence and democracy sets off a series of individual dramas that offer the reader a refreshing alternative to the grand narratives of world history. Written with great verve and humor, Mihkel Mutt’s novel provides an illuminating look at life on the fringes of occupied Estonian society.
Translated by Adam Cullen
Number of pages: 401
Publication date: December 2015
List price: $19.95