PUBLISHERS OF LITERARY FICTION SINCE 1983
Since 1983, Dedalus has been publishing books, many of them frankly on the fringes, but most of which wouldn’t make it into English if it weren’t for this tiny company with two employees. Their ambitiously esoteric list boasts a number of minor European classics, originally written in Finnish or Flemish or French, quite a few described in their catalogue as ‘decadent’ or ’grotesque’. They operate on the margins and struggle for funding but the world would be a poorer place without them. This anthology of 16 pieces is a case in point. Fiction from Estonia – one of the smallest countries of the European Union – is never going to compete for sales with the life and druggie times of Amy Winehouse. But it’s a significant contribution to our literary culture and a reason to cherish a press such as Dedalus.
This chunky book gathers together fiction by Estonian authors dating from the 19th century to today. With a range of prose and discourse styles, it features strong pieces including a semi-autobiographical work by Jaan Kross about a student in World War 11, Eeva Park’s startling account of relationship troubles and extracts from a diary by Mati Unt that challenges readers with its lack of punctuation. It’s a neat bundle for anyone for anyone wanting to dive into the creative depths of Estonia.