The Death of the Perfect Sentence

The Death of the Perfect Sentence

9.95 11.95

Rein Raud
translated by
Matthew Hyde

*Longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award (2018)

Pages: 194
ISBN: 978-1-908251-70-1
Dimensions: 210 x 140 x 12 mm
Publication: 21 June 2017
Compare at Wordery

Click here to look inside the book

Add To Cart

This thoughtful spy novel cum love story is set mainly in Estonia during the dying days of the Soviet Union, but also in Russia, Finland and Sweden. A group of young pro-independence dissidents devise an elaborate scheme for smuggling copies of KGB files out of the country, and their fates become entangled, through family and romantic ties, with the security services never far behind them.

Through multiple viewpoints the author evokes the curious minutiae of everyday life, offers wry observations on the period through personal experience, and asks universal questions about how interpersonal relationships are affected when caught up in momentous historical changes.

This sometimes wistful examination of how the Estonian Republic was reborn after a long and stultifying hiatus speaks also of the courage and complex chemistry of those who pushed against a regime whose then weakness could not have been known to them.


"Rein Raud is already known for having written a number of highly varied and multi-layered novels, and his latest work is no exception. It is above all a first-rate work of fiction, but it also provides a view into Estonia’s recent history which is witty and thought-provoking, leaving the reader not knowing whether to laugh or cry. The novel’s main ingredients, which include the KGB, Western spies, and Soviet dissidents, guarantee an addictive reading experience, and looming above all else is the central question of how to build a new society in conditions where the main legacy of the old one was the destruction of interpersonal trust." – Peeter Helme, Estonian Literature Centre

"Raud takes us back to those times of hope which existed alongside the continuing paranoia of a totalitarian regime that many did not know was teetering on the point of collapse. He sets this all up with a group of Estonian dissidents acting as an amateur spy network to smuggle information to the west and builds quite a lovely bitter-sweet romance story into the mix. It truly takes us back to when we lived in 'interesting times.'" – Alan Teder, Goodreads reviewer

"The Death of the Perfect Sentence and politically charged literature that is similar to it are important so that we can have some iota of perspective, especially in these turbulent political times. ... Raud’s book is timely and important for those of us who, whether we like to acknowledge it or not, are living in 'interesting times'." – Melissa Beck, The Bookbinder's Daughter

To look inside the book, read reviews and watch/listen to related media, please click on the "Fullscreen" button in the widget below.