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Inherit the Family: Marrying into Eastern Europe stories by Vello Vikerkaar Paperback – October 5, 2009
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In fact Vello's book is the exact opposite of such flimsy offerings from writers who define themselves as outside observers. He hasn't swanned into Estonia for a couple of weeks, he has committed to the place 24/7. He's an outsider trying to be an insider but only making small, slow, advances. The painful rate of progress periodically leads to massive frustration which explodes in a sort of impotent, absurd exasperation.
There are plenty of comic situations that only real life could possibly throw up, including a memorable life or death struggle over a rabbit hutch and musings on the geo-economic factors that result in a covertly homosexual companion for Barbie being foisted on Eastern Europe.
Vello also debunks a few myths. If this book actually gets into the hands of locals they may finally realise that the foreigners living among them are generally much less interesting and intelligent than they give them credit for, and that foreign journalists in particular are more likely to be hopeless hacks than secret service men.
But best of all Vello exhibits the brevity and discpline in his writing that is a direct result of being a newspaper columnist rather than a mere blogger. Vello's columns are lean, funny and quick.
The brevity of each self-contained chapter makes them perfect bathroom reading material.Read more ›
A positive aspect of this book is that Vello moves pretty smoothly from a weekly column format to a book format. Although the columns here are largely reprinted as they first appeared, the appealing layout of the book, and perhaps even the way in which the columns, re-imagined as chapters, are ordered, made it easy for me as a reader to move from one topic to another. I easily finished half of the book in a few hours, and because this is not a novel, I could return the next day to where I had left off and not feel that I had lost any of the book's underlying rhythm.
In summary, as a reader, I recommend this book to you. So many writers get lost in the details and you can feel that you are drowning in a swamp of entertaining but ultimately useless information because, surprise, writers like to write, maybe too much. Vello's book is not a swamp. It's like the Lincoln Tunnel on a Sunday morning, you can drive right through and always be a little amazed by the experience.
My one criticism is that so many of Vello's characters are cashiers, government clerks, taxi drivers, bartenders, and other providers of services.Read more ›
Would this be a wise course of action? You will meet witches, silent but dangerous relatives, and suspicious rabbits, shady business propositions.
Even if you're not planning to decamp to the former Eastern bloc, read it anyway. Nobody tells this story better than Vello!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was happy with how the book was described prior to my purchasing it. I gave it to my father to read to Mum who is 88 and came to NZ from Estonia after the war. Read morePublished on May 17, 2010 by A. Mckeon
Anyone with a sensible and mature attitude to Estonia should ignore Kairus' ill-informed review. I write as one of the "kind of people the author has surrounded himself with" i.e. Read morePublished on March 16, 2010 by Hilary Bird