I was The Polemical Works of Al Al- Abar prepared to give Kross the benefit of the doubt because I have a soft spot for Estonia It turns out there was no need This was dazzling one of the best books I have ever read Timo view spoiler Bettie s Books hide spoiler From time to time as the mood strikes me I enjoy reading the occasional historical novel 1 Since thisarticular novel was written by an Estonian and contains a great deal of historical context about the situation of Baltic Germans during the Tsarist A Companion to Vittoria Colonna period as well as the early attempts by native Estonians to develop a national literary culture I thought this would be a good novel to read in order to gain some understanding of the literary culture of Estonia in general even if my inability to read Estonian means that I had to read this work in translation with all of the concerns that translations bring when it comes to being true to their original in terms of tone and mood It should be noted at the outset that this novel is a highly interesting one for a variety of reasons and that the translation appears to be faithful to the author s intentions of claiming as a novel a work that simultaneously hasretensions to historical truth which the author goes to great lengths in order to convey almost apologizing for not having ublished this as a a scholarly work but instead of a fictional one I suppose I cannot be too harsh at someone whose works straddle the line between narrative fiction and historical fact as my own life and my own writings have straddled that line before as wellIt is clear that a certain amount of narrative leasure has been sacrificed to give the appearance of historical truth by giving this novel the appearance of a journal of an educated native Estonian of the first half of the 19th century who nevertheless shows no aptitude for business In reading this novel I was reminded of other novels I have read in the La Partera: Story of a Midwife past that similarly blended fact and fiction in unsettling ways like Chronicle of a Death Foretold where the author was attempting to expiate his own guilt for having taken the virginity of an overprotected young woman leading to the death of an innocent man and this book especially resembles Memoirs of a Geisha in the elaborate construction of alausible origin for the novel s contents and form and its strong desire to be seen as a work of historical truth and not merely a work of fiction There are other reasons why this novel is articularly Nathanish Its narrator is an educated but rather impoverished gentleman who has a fondness for young redheads and a compulsion to write and to keep a chronicle of his life and his thoughts and reflections even though what is contained is highly dangerous to his own well being in the face of Russian censoring The titular character of the novel the narrator s brother in law is an idealistic Baltic German noble and an illegitimate descendant of Tsar Peter the Great married a lovely Estonian easant and wrote a memorandum that was guilty of lese majeste by commenting on the unsavory and improper conduct of the Russian regime and harshly abusing the wickedness of arbitrary and tyrannical government at the cost of nine years of jail a blackened reputation and the loss of his teeth I am reminded of my own unpleasant encounters abroad with the olice state of certain nations in all of this 2 I find it troubling that it should be so easy to find eople like myself in literature and so hard to find a suitable lace or a suitable mate for myself in real life although as someone who spends so much time writing and dealing with books it should be of little surprise that I should so closely resemble the historical and fictional ersonages that I discover in themThe contents of this book are articularly interesting it should be noted Told in journal form the story centers on the efforts of the narrator to convey the truth about the supposed madness of one Timo von Bock as he serves as a friend to his beautiful sister Eeva and as he engages in his own furtive efforts at romance as an aging bachelor who eventually marries and has a daughter of his own The story is both commonplace as well as gripping and it is easy to imagine why someone who was well educated in French as well as Russian and Estonian and who thought that the relationship between the Russians and Baltic Germans with the native Estonian underclass was beyond hopeless would
seek to write and reflect about the efforts of an idealistic to write and reflect about the efforts of an idealistic to argue for euality despite the centuries of oppression that had existed between the Estonians and their German overlords and their Russian imperial masters This novel did a good job in roviding the context to the efforts of Estonians to develop belatedly a literary culture and in the basic insecurity of the nation in light of their long centuries of oppression and their Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 27 position between muchowerful and grasping neighbors One cannot help but have a sympathy for the author and his eople being a fair minded sort of erson who cheers on the underdog as I happen to be and as someone who has kept my own voluminous journal I found the tone struck by the journal and its contents to be good Whether or not this book has genuine historical truth in it is beyond my competence to say but it does make for a compelling historical novel that does Networking for Career Success: 24 Lessons for Getting to Know the Right People provide a great deal of context to Estonian feelings toward Germany and Russia as well asroviding an interesting story that deals with olitics and romance and that leaves the reader with the thought that reading good literature gives me the chance to hope even where there may be no hope 3481 See for example2 See for example Kross is one of the better writers you ve never read An Estonian who I believe is still alive albeit ancient he wrote his only two long works that have been translated into English this and Professor Marten s Departure under Soviet rule managing to disguise a vicious and oftentimes funny critiue of their authoritarian ways by writing about Estonians under the Tsar The Czar s Madman is about Timo von Bock an actual Estonian nobleman who has the gall to criticize the Tsar s authoritarian style of rule and is imprisoned for his trouble Timo himself is a great character full of joie de vivre and rebelliousness but also well educated and serious in his rincipled opposition to tyranny The story is written from the Zheng Guogu perspective of a teacher who falls in with Timo seople and is innately suspicious of anything that upsets the status uo too much Kross calls into uestion the link between olitical objectives and affairs of the heart as though he knew exactly what Gloria Steinem was writing at the same time the arallel tales of the narrator s and von Bock s failed love affairs may be the most rewarding aspect of the bookWhen I was teaching in Estonia my students always complained about having to the most rewarding aspect of the bookWhen I was teaching in Estonia my students always complained about having to Jaan Kross when they were in high school much the way we Americans always have to read Dickens I envy them their complaints don t worry no spoilers hereFirst let me say that I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy historical fiction and not what often Frںuhzeit Des Ostslaventums passes for historical fiction ie romantic novels set in an historicaleriod The Czar s Madman is not an easy read and demands atience and thorough reading so if you re looking for light historical fiction this isn t the book for you Otherwise if like myself you enjoy fiction set during the. Even in the Baltic rovince of Estonia ruled with an iron hand by Russia's Czar Alexander I the new notions of liberty and freedom wafting across Europe had not been silenced by Napoleon's defeat It was the fall of 1813 and Colonel Timotheus von Bock a Baltic nobleman and favorite of the czar had returned from the battlefields of Europe a hero convinced that new and better ways were coming and determined to Whose Life Is It Anyway?: Living through your 20s on your own terms play hisart in bringing them about He first scandalized his fellow aristocrats by spurning a far appropriate marriage in order to wed a easant's daughter Then he committed an even grievous infraction Having sw.
*STARTS TO FEEL HIMSELF IN THE RIGHT ABOUT HIS *to feel himself in the right about his It couldn t have ever been about how the Czar treated everyone then HIS bonds Where were everyone s bonds Jakob says he is tied to them The real Eeva must ve felt so much to have tried to help her madman So how come the Meditation Express: Stress Relief in 60 Seconds Flat point was if he was mad to have written the letter at all What about their lives The subtext drowned out the text when their lives became talking about look at Timo and how much he believes Listen to Timo dammit It sucks that anyone had to go torison If what you have to say becomes about how you want to talk about what you have to say then shouldn t you look at Eeva and your son and wonder who you are saying it
for His Czar died and turned into another Czar and he died and turned intoHis Czar died and turned into another Czar and he died and turned into Czar Their man it should have been You could leave the book at the title and that would be the story He was THEIRS and by wallowing in their bonds he became theirs to call as they wanted It s not like this book didn t have interesting uestions from its material But boy is it ever boring to read endless letters that say the same thing over and over and over and over again to lead to a conclusion about olitics when all I really wanted to know is if Eeva ever lived for herself Kross must have been retty ticked off that the Soviet censors didn t like his Challenged by Love E-Boxed Set poetry and locked him away I wonder what hisoetry was like Did they black out every word Did they send it back to him with a cruel rejection letter or did they just show up with the ride to Communicating With Animals : The Spiritual Connection Between People and Animals prison Did he forget about what he had wanted to say in the firstlace when they wouldn t let him speak Ps Maybe it was some real life What a coincidence moment that Jakob turned down his love Iette because her father was a spy only to marry his unknown to her other daughter But it felt like cheesey novel shit Jakob s life made me roll my eyes It did My book about him would be called The Czars Madmans Wife s Douche Bag Brother A brilliant novel written as a diary Rich in 19th Century Estonian and Russian history Vivid descriptions of the Estonian landscape and one of the most compelling novels I ve ever read No spoilers just a recommendation anyone interested in Estonia who doesn t know of Jaan Kross get this book Anyone who loves 19th Century Russian Lit read this book for a very uniue Robot Programming perspective Anyone who likes to read novels written in non standard narrative formats this is one of the finest Easily one of the best books I ve read this year looking forward to reading of his work Aerfect book for the winter First after reading Kross afterword did I realize that this is to a certain degree a true story I wonder if I knowing that from the start would have made a difference As it is this is a rather engaging tale about rather engaging eople doing rather engaging things But that s itIt begs the uestion though Is idealism always aired with naivety Because criticizing the tzar like that Timo is not a good idea I could have told you that for free Also I see the Our Fake Relationship parallels to how the Soviet government was treatingeople with other ideas And when Kross was writing this book Estonia was a The Blitzkrieg Legend part of the Soviet Union Welllaid Sir. Opian revolutionary a man of the highest moral rinciples Timo von Bock's story is the main thread in a richly worked tapestry evoking the world of nineteenth century Russia and its Baltic rovinces a time of great turmoil that saw the birth of a new national awareness among the many Über Nacht peoples unwillingly held under the rule of the Russian crown Recounting this tale from theages of history Jaan Kross takes the reader intothe Ad Astra passions of a time and a country that foreshadow the tragedies of our own century creating at the same time aowerful vision of human emotion honor and knavery greed and sacrifice love and desi. Czarist eriod in Russia which lasted actually through 1917 then don t miss this oneThe author assumes that the reader is going to have some basic knowledge of Russian history and I did find that a basic understanding was helpful I had to go to the Internet a few times to set myself straight on a few things but then again I m weird I can t read something like this unless I have a va The Czar s Madman is a historical novel set in the 19th century in Livonia now split between Estonia and Latvia when the Baltic States had been invaded enslaved and absorbed into the Russian Empire Jaan Kross lived through a time when Estonia was invaded by both Nazi Germany and the Soviet USSR His family were well off and German speaking expected to side with the Nazis he did not He just managed to miss Germany s earlier occupation in WW1 by being born too late and I do not know what his sympathies would have been when Germany was the less oppressive regime I think Jaan Kross is criticising all authoritarian regimes in this book but is difficult to be sure He is certainly criticising those who say Sport Social Work: Promoting the Functioning and Well-Being of College and Professional Athletes people are free to express their opinions and then deride orunish them for doing soThe book is apparently based on a real manuscript found over a hundred years after the events described Most or ossibly all of the characters in the book existed The Afterword explains the author s use of the materialThe rotagonist of the book was a nobleman Timotheus von Bock who dared to criticise the then Czar Alexander the First As a member of the aristocracy he was generally strongly czarist and in a The Lost Library: The Autobiography of a Culture privilegedosition He takes his friend the Czar at his word when Alexander says he wants to hear the truth He is imprisoned for several years and then released to house arrest after Alexander s death by the next Czar Nicholas the First Von Bock is sympathetic to his Das Unbewusste vom Standpunkt der Physiologie und Descendenztheorie peasants than mosteople in his class he marries one of them which suggests he does see them as eople not farm animals although his manner is high handed This may be Kross s view of Soviet Communism the easants get euality and education but not much say in what they do with themThe style of the book is uite rambling and repetitive with many diversions This suits a story about a Love Letters person who may be slightly mad told by an educatedeasant in love with words but can get a little irritatingThe other characters have different opinions on Timo von Bock s mental state Was he mad to marry a Eat to Beat Illness peasant Was he mad to criticise the Czar Was he sane then but has he become mad since as a result of his incarceration Was he mad then and sane now Is heretending to be mad to confuse the Czar s spies We are not given a definitive answer which is as it should be The alternative that he is a free thinking atriot who wants to set up a slightly representative government along the lines of the House of Lords and move his country forward into the thirteenth century is too revolutionary to contemplateIt was not advisable to criticise the Czar it was not advisable for an author to criticise Communism under Brezhnev and expect to have his book ublished although he could of course blame Stalin for everything There is some veiled criticism however apart from the situation of the serfs not being noticeably improved by their emancipation which is written as a condemnation of the very limited reforms enacted under czarist rule there is an odd little incident of Timo s brother George and whether he gets his debt repaid or not It is decided by the throw of a dice I took this as a commentary on the sometimes arbitrary application of from each according to his ability to each according to his need This is an accomplished book and a well conceived one I enjoyed the story the allegorical uality and the narrator s musings but I did not love it Here is a conclusion I have reached leaving the uestion of God aside I certainly won t lose sleep over the fatherland I have seen what total devotion to it may entail Partial devotion to it may imply treason but a true and total devotion to the fatherland such as Timo s would be sheer madness Or is there yet another alternative Or all ossibilities in this world simply alternatives Even in the gently swaying separate world of the reeds at dusk The Czar s Madman is an historical novel with an historical background It has a subtextual message traveling under the lines in subterranean fatherland blues I suspect it stuffs itself in all of the important laces The back book flap touts Jaan all of the important Λίγη Ζωή places The back book flap touts Jaan arrest by the Soviets and his nine years in exile and labor camps Historical Timotheus von Bock the so called madman also spent nine years inrison Never forget it He has ideals to spout from the chopping block The Soviets allowed Kross to research Bock and ublish his novel in 1985 I don t doubt that the motives behind the subtext were for subversive reasons Maybe my translated copy is different than the original in Estonian though because it read like standing underneath an ACME roduct on its way down Is the Czar s Madman really mad Is he insane Gasp how could he criticize life under their utrid green growing thumb I got the remise of the book thanks Psst he is bat shit crazy Crazier than a shit house rat I tell you The journal excerpts from his brother in law Jakob Mattik were real There s an afterward about this that I only skimmed because by this Love is Murder point I was grateful to be done with the thing Timo did write a letter to the Czar condemning him for treacheries under his rule Well MOST of the book are excerpts from journals Lots and lots of letters If this were a film much of it would be done in voice overs while the actors exchanged looks of Is this madman for real over sheets ofaper I m sorry with secret decoder rings too because there were chunks carved out for ways to get around censorship as well
Maybe Kross Was Writing A How ToKross was writing a how to for readers living under Soviet rule with him I did read on the guardian that the Soviets didn t change much so my leaning on the beneficial side of doubt isn t too far They must have been fooled those Soviets Probably too bored over the endless repetitive letters to ay much attentionThe storytelling voice of Jakob in The Czar s Madman reads like Gwyneth Paltrow in the 1990s film version of Emma You know when she has that I love John I hate John speech in a fake accent creamed off the surface of a mental ool that doesn t Alans Letters probe too deeplyast a reflection of ripples from immediate stone throwers A What's Your Body Telling You?: Listening to Your Body's Signals to Stop Anxiety, Erase Self-Doubt and Achieve True Wellness person who doesn t yet know what they think and the way the wind blows could change everything His sister Eeva married the letter scribe of we need a CHANGE It is admitted amidst all of the grand ideals that he doesn t spend any time witheasants other than the one he had trained up to be a lady enough for his world they check your mouth for your silver spoon before you cross the River Styx before he could marry her His Czar loved him and allowed him to marry this girl of his choice It is kind of like how Molly Ringwald could tell John Hughes to give her the Old Electrical Wiring: Maintenance Retrofit part of theopular girl in The Breakfast Club instead of the freak he really wanted her to Sweet Dreams: A Pediatrician's Secrets for Baby's Good Night's Sleep play Sure they would do one film after this but the boat was already kicked off the dock the rope gnawed through You were supposed to do as I say Timo did not really have the Czar s ear When he has beenunished and separated from his wife and son he still writes let. Orn an oath to his sovereign always to tell him the truth von Bock sent the czar a memorandum condemning his tyrannical rule The reaction was rompt Von Bock was banished from his estate and imprisoned for nine years in the Schlusselburg fortress When Czar Alexander was succeeded by his brother Nicholas I von Bock was released at last and he returned to his impoverished estate and destitute wife His hysical health had been shattered by his imprisonment no less than his mental stability Was he indeed the madman the czar certified him to be whose unstable mind had led him to his subversive ideas Or was he really a ut.