The Beauty of History: A Novel
1968. Riga. News of the Prague Spring washes across Europe, causing ripples on either side of the Iron Curtain. A young Estonian woman has agreed to pose as a model for a famous sculptor, who is trying to evade military service and escape to the West. Although the model has only a vague awareness of politics - her interest in life is primarily poetic - the consequences of the politics of both past and present repeatedly make themselves felt. Chance remarks overheard prompt memories of people and places, language itself becomes fluid, by turns deceptive and reassuring.
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already Angel appears apple asks Aunt Olga Baltic bathroom begins blood blue bones breath Brezhnev's burning butter carriage cleaner clear cold collectivisation colour completely crew-cut cupboard curtain Czechoslovakia darkness dead disappear door ears earth eau de cologne empty Estonian everything eyes face Father feels feet fire floor flowers future gaze glance glass glow government of Estonia hair hand happens head heard heart jumper Karelian isthmus Kerstin Ekman Kinski the dog kitchen knows Latvian laugh leave Lielupe light Lion Lion's Lithuania living longhairs looks Lord Moscow mother mouth move neck Nevertheless night notebook Olga's Perhaps policeman Prague Riga Russian seen shadow shoulder silence sits smell smile smoke Soviet Stalin stands station strange Tallinn Tartu teeth telephone train translated USSR Valga Viivi Luik Volli wait Warsaw white monkey white shirt wind window words