Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Professor Martens' Departure” as Want to Read:
Professor Martens' Departure
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Professor Martens' Departure

(Jaan Krossi kogutud teosed #7)

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  160 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Widely read in Europe, the Estonian novelist Jaan Kross is considered one of the most important writers of the Baltic region, and is an often-named candidate for the Nobel Prize.

His new historical novel, Professor Martens’ Departure, is written in a classic elegiac style reminiscent of Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s The Leopard, and it evokes the complex world of czarist Russian
Paperback, 304 pages
Published May 1st 1995 by The New Press (first published 1984)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Professor Martens' Departure, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Professor Martens' Departure

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  160 ratings  ·  16 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Professor Martens' Departure
Jim Fonseca
Jun 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
A great historical novel about a real person, Friedrich Martens (1845-1909), an Estonian-born Russian diplomat who was a key negotiator for the Russian Czar. For example, he helped negotiate the treaty ending the Russo-Japanese War with Teddy Roosevelt’s administration at Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 1905.


Martens was involved in establishing the World Court at The Hague and the International Red Cross organization.

The book is a fictionalized but very factual biography. Unlike a traditional bio
How do you write about things that you love? More to the point how can you write about the books that you love and succeed in sharing with other readers what about them captivates and enriches you?

A book and its reader are a relationship and the resulting love can be as inexplicable to the onlooker as any that we see between apparently mismatched people. I once tried to persuade my mother to read The Blue Flower but saw the look in her eyes when I had got as far as explaining that the poet Nova
Alan Teder
Confessions of a Diplomat
Review of the Estonian language Kuula24 mp3 CD audiobook edition (2011) of the original Estonian edition Professor Martensi ärasõit (1984)

Professor Friedrich Martens (1845 - 1909) tells all during his final train journey.

Draft Review in Progress

Photogragh of the envoys at the signing of the Treaty of Portsmouth 1905 to end the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). Friedrich Martens is the 6th from the left in the front row. File Source: Wikipedia.
A few chapters into this book, I was scrambling for Google. What I discovered is that this novel's protagonist, Professor Martens, was a real historical figure, an international law expert in the Russian court of the early 20th Century. He was an important figure in numerous important international treaty negotiations. This novel, set late in his life, takes us with him on a train trip from his small village toward a rendezvous with his wife and official meetings with other diplomats in St. Pete ...more
Jennifer W
Jul 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1001-books
One of the better books on the 1001 books to read before you die list. It was well written. Though very little happens during the course of the story, I was always eager to get back to Professor Martens and his story. Professor Martens played an important part in Russia's history in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His father, also Professor Martens played important roles some 80 years earlier. At times it was difficult to keep them apart as our professor Martens experiences flashbacks or ...more
Jun 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This was my journey time book for the past 4,5 months. My first Estonian novel too. Very interesting and insightful. Several historical figures and events figure prominently in this historical fiction based on the life of a real person. This is a book I would definitely re-read after sometime. There is a lot of history and context which I sometimes did not get (which is why I gave it 3 stars instead of 4) - but a great read nevertheless. Reminded me a lot of Ingmar Bergman's "Wild Strawberries". ...more
(-'. '-)
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kirjeldab omal ajal oma ametis üle maailma tuntud eesti soost rahvusvahelise õiguse professori Friedrich Fromhold Martensi mõtteid ja mõningaid tegemisi Pärnust Valka sõites. Lugedes peatükki armuafäärist ühe kunstiüliõpilasega ja paari muud kohta tundus mulle uskumatu, kuidas Jaan Kross niimoodi üksikasjalikult Friedrichi vaatepunktist kirjutada suudab.
Jul 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hea raamat.
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't like it completely, but I really enjoyed it in places. The world building is magnificent!
Nancy Oakes
Feb 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
A very difficult book to read in the sense that there is so much detail that you absolutely must give this story your full attention, and not everything is spelled out for you in terms of the book's underlying message. It is one of those novels you really must think about while and after you're reading it. If, however, you want a very good work by an Estonian author, this is it. I've already ordered two more of Kross's books - he is a very gifted writer. I think my only criticism of this book wo ...more
Patrick Robitaille

*** 1/2

In this historical fiction, we follow the final journey of Friedrich Martens, Estonian international law specialist and diplomat of the late Czarist era, on the 7th June 1909 (Julian calendar) by train between Pärnu and St. Petersburg. He died suddenly at the Valga train station. During the trip from Pärnu to Valga, he reminisce about various events affecting his life, from his career successes and setbacks to his relationship with his wife, Kati, and his infidelities, also including th

Jul 27, 2012 rated it liked it

If Professor Martens’ Departure had to be made into a film , I would definitely resurrect Ingmar Bergman to direct it. The plot of this book is so Bergman-esque that images of his films kept popping in my head.

Professor F.Martens is returning to his native land of St. Petersburg from Estonia. On the lengthy train ride he reflects about his life , his affairs and his achievement. He also tries to see parallels between his life and another F. Martens who lived in Germany a century earlier ( the bo
Jul 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: russia
One of the most acclaimed Estonian novels of the twentieth century. A melancholy read, with layers of detail and intricate characterisations.

The story is sombre and slow-paced. Professor Martens, Estonian-born, a specialist in the minutiae of international law, is summoned out of retirement to consult with the ministry in tsarist St.-Petersburg. Outside his train window, the revolution of 1905 is in progress. And very slowly, very hesitantly, Martens comes to realise that he's devoted his life t
There are pundits who think Kross should be a Nobel laureate: they're right. This is a marvellous tale of life in the service of the Russian empire, and of being Estonian in that empire. I read it in Estonia, which added a piquancy, although it lacks the satirical edge of The Czar's Madman.
Mart Lepanen
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Professor Martensi ärasõit'' further solidifies my belief that Jaan Kross is Estonia's greatest literary treasure.
Drew Bell
rated it liked it
Jun 01, 2020
rated it liked it
Jan 12, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Nov 20, 2016
rated it really liked it
Jan 15, 2017
Ginta Elksne
rated it it was amazing
Mar 21, 2018
Subhajit Das
rated it liked it
Nov 27, 2019
Kaie Jaakson
rated it liked it
Oct 13, 2014
rated it did not like it
Jan 26, 2017
rated it it was amazing
May 20, 2011
Tõnn Viik
rated it really liked it
Mar 30, 2020
Lazarus P Badpenny Esq
rated it really liked it
Mar 06, 2013
rated it really liked it
Jun 29, 2013
rated it really liked it
Nov 30, 2014
rated it really liked it
Jan 12, 2013
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Reading 1001: Professor Martens' Departure by Jaan Kross 1 8 Apr 04, 2018 05:58PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Puhdistus
  • I Called Him Necktie
  • Een blad in de wind
  • Aaker
  • The Shipping News
  • Old Filth (Old Filth, #1)
  • Before the Coffee Gets Cold
  • Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?
  • World Order
  • The List (Slough House, #2.5)
  • Lejos de Casa
  • The Dragon Book
  • Dead Lions (Slough House, #2)
  • Benedict Cumberbatch: The Biography
  • La Llamada de la Habana
  • The Ten Loves of Mr. Nishino
  • Agnes Grey
  • Slow Horses (Slough House, #1)
See similar books…
Estonia's best-known and most translated writer is Jaan Kross. He has been tipped for the Nobel Prize for Literature on several occasions for his novels, but did in fact start his literary career as a poet and translator of poetry. On his return from the labour camps and internal exile in Russia, where he spent the years 1946-1954 as a political prisoner, Kross renewed Estonian poetry, giving it n ...more

Other books in the series

Jaan Krossi kogutud teosed (1 - 10 of 19 books)
  • Kolme katku vahel, I-II (Balthasar Russowi romaan, #1-2) (Jaan Krossi kogutud teosed, #1)
  • Kolme katku vahel III (Balthasar Russowi romaan, #3)
  • Kolme katku vahel IV (Balthasar Russowi romaan, #4)
  • Taevakivi. Kolmandad mäed. Kahe kaotsiläinud paberi lugu. Pöördtoolitund. (Jaan Krossi kogutud teosed, #4)
  • The Czar's Madman
  • Rakvere romaan
  • Vastutuulelaev: Bernhard Schmidti romaan
  • Wikmani poisid (Jaan Krossi kogutud teosed, #9)
  • Väljakaevamised
  • Tabamatus

News & Interviews

Contemporary young adult literature has often led the way in depicting the real-life issues facing teens from all backgrounds. To delve into ho...
60 likes · 7 comments