Five Baltic books you should be reading right now

  • 2013-11-19
  • By Rayyan Sabet-Parry, RIGA

Photo by Stephen Rees/ source: flickr

The Baltics is full of great literature. Here's five great books you need to get your hands on, as suggested by our readers.

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1. VILNIUS POKER by Ricardas Gavelis

“It tells you everything,” says reader Violeta Kelertas when asked which Baltic books to recommend. The complicated piece of fiction set during the Soviet era centers around the character Vytautas Vargalys, who works at a strange library, and his obsession with a seedy group known as 'Them'. Reviewers have described the book as inconclusive whilst it's considered to be a turning point in Lithuanian literature.


2. THE LATVIAN SAGA by Uldis Germanis

“It helps put the Latvian struggle in perspective,” says reader, Pete Liepens. The book is the first English language history of Latvia's struggle to independence. 'It presents history, but reads like a novel. It describes the people, powers and events that made Latvia what it is today, and puts it all in a broader European context.' writes the U.S. Embassy in Latvia.


3. THE CZAR”S MADMAN by Jan Kroos

Estonian born Jan Kroos produces a true work of art with this award winning book. The plot centers around a Livonian nobleman who is bold enough to write to the King and criticize his rule. The result. He's imprisoned and then placed under house arrest for being mad. “Thanks to this book I fell in love with the Baltics,” said reader, Evan McCarthy.


4. THOSE WHOM I WOULD LIKE TO MEET AGAIN, by Giedra Radvilavičiūtė

Fiction and essay merge together to form ten short stories in this book by Lithuanian born Gedra Radvilavičiūtė. Vilnius Old Town and Chicago's Brighton park all feature in the stories that travel from the abstract to the real. Suggested by Viletas Kelertas.


5. DOGS OF RIGA by Henning Mankell

A detective is led on a goose chase to Latvia to find criminals after two dead bodies are washed up on Swedish shores. What happens next is interesting. The book is also a commentary on the unstable politics of the ex Soviet countries. It's also been turned in to a film called The Hounds of Riga.