The Reconstruction



The Reconstruction (Novels, Estonian)
Published by Mustvalge Kirjastus, 2012, pp. 264

We meet the narrator of the story, Enn Padrik, half a year after he learns that he has cancer and just about as long to live. He has used these past months to solve a mystery that has troubled him for quite long: five years earlier, his daughter Anni was one of the victims of a collective suicide in an artists’ colony in rural Estonia. Enn has tracked down her friends and acquaintances, and has even travelled to Paris, where Anni studied for some time. We meet people from all walks of life: Enn’s mother, a retired schoolteacher; the family of his wife, members of the Soviet bureaucracy; Enn’s younger sister-in-law, drinking herself into oblivion after a messy divorce from an elderly Swedish-Estonian businessman; as well as the guitarist of a sectarian Christian rock band; a former priest and an authority for spiritual seekers; a militant atheist teenager in a wheelchair, hating her newly converted mother for the efforts she makes to save her soul; and above all, the members of the colony who left it before things went sour, including the sole survivor of the tragic event. Bit by bit, we put together Anni’s story: from her involvement with Eastern-European prostitutes in Paris and Muslim women fleeing their families, to her quest for justice and values; and then all the way up to her escalating conflict with the self-appointed guru of the artists’ colony, known to us as "the Android".

This is a story that spans not only two generations, but two entire worlds – the collapse of one society, and the emergence of another. Told in an engaging manner with credible characters and a lively dialogue, without bitterness, excessively dark overtones or moralisation, it ends with Enn’s realisation that it is not so important whether the things we believe in are really true; rather, what does matter is what kinds of people these things make us be. 

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