Fragment of the interview with (partly) functional president of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves:
IL: Speaking of outside opinions, I recently read AlexandFragment of the interview with (partly) functional president of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves:
IL: Speaking of outside opinions, I recently read Alexander Theroux's book Estonia: A Ramble Through the Periphery...
THI: Yes, I read it too, but then I am probably the only person in Estonia who also read his Darconville's Cat in 1981, and Three Wogs as well. I'd say it's typical Alexander Theroux, one of the most misanthropic writers there are. I mean, if you remember, in Darconville's Cat he has a thirty page chapter called "Magnificarum", which is just a collection of curses in Latin, most of them obscene, and then the English translation. So this guy comes to Estonia, he is here for the dreariest months, he hates everything he sees – but okay, it's just one view and it's fine. You know, there used to be this joke about the Finns – and now it applies to Estonians, with our obsession with tables and rankings. It goes like this: A German, a Frenchman and a Finn discover an elephant. The German writes a three volume "Prolegomena to the Elephant"; the Frenchman writes, "L'ElŽphant: Fifteen Ways to Cook It"; and the Finn writes a book, "The Elephant: What It Thinks about Us". That joke is twenty years old, now it's not so much the case in Finland, whereas in Estonia every opinion counts. At least opinions from the West.
IL: Contrary to what you are saying about how every opinion seems to count in Estonia, I was trying to get some reactions to the book and found it didn't make much of a splash here. Whereas if something remotely like that were written about Latvia...
THI: And even more so, if someone has written something bad about Estonia, then all the Latvians have read it!
IL: Not this book, I assure you.
THI: Well, what can you say. All you can do is just shrug your shoulders. Basically the book struck me as the kind of book someone would write if he'd only been in one other country his entire life. I have found that when people move out of their native country for the first time, all they do is look at the differences and complain. When you go to your second foreign country, then things are different, and it becomes easier with each next one to develop a perspective. It's a classic thing I have seen with diplomats. In their first country they only notice the differences, but then they go to their second country and after a while they actually develop a perspective. You have to go and live in different places to start having a serious opinion. Before that you are just looking at what’s different – either good or bad.
Also I did not find any other mentions of this book in Estonian press, or blogs or anywhere (even google has nothing to say). Few Estonian commentators though managed to reveal their insecurity or ignorance or both. Mostly they fell confused that they have to deal with so many different carriers of Theroux surname, so they ended up wanting Estonia: A Ramble Trough the Periphery to be something that was dictated immediately into audiobook/screenplay format by Paul, who had looks of Justin, of course book will include many particulars about his marriage with Aniston and immediate creation of next film/instalment of Indiana “I killed all the Nazies and my father is Sean Connery” Jones, played by Harrison Ford who in turn would be CGI-ed so that he sometimes will look either like Bieber or DiCaprio, new movie will take place in Estonia but will be shot in Iceland and is word for word adaptation from this book. I am sorry to say but this book is not that.