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Estonia Novels

Gogol's Disco

Paavo Matsin

Estonia Novels

Gogol's Disco

Paavo Matsin

Author

Paavo Matsin (1970) worked as a university lecturer and teacher; today, he is a literary critic and writer, who began his career as a member of the Estonian experimental writer's group 14NÜ. He created poetry, which he self-published. He has received numerous awards; his third novel, Gogol's Disco, received the 2016 EU Prize for Literature. He lives and works in the area around Viljandi.

Overview

In the alternative reality, Estonia is occupied by the Russian Empire, which bans the Estonian language, deports the Estonian population, and settles the area with new immigrants, whose memory has been erased. One day, Nicholai Vasilyevich Gogol rises from the dead like Christ, and a hurricane of phantasmagoria descends on the town of Viljandi. The grotesque, erudite, psychedelic anti-utopian novel is written in the best tradition of Bulgakov and magic realism. 

Praise

Gogol’s Disco is undoubtedly Matsin’s strongest work to date. His characteristically cryptic, erratic plot and intertextuality, which can be difficult for the common reader, has receded, though it hasn’t completely disappeared! The strengths of Matsin’s energetic inner world are amplified in Gogol’s Disco: a bizarre, dream-like atmosphere populated with colourful characters and absurd situations. Absorbing influences from history, alchemy, mysticism, and literature, Matsin here offers a clearer text, while not losing his ability to create a magical and grotesque world: one which won’t submit to classification by genre. By combining his sense of humour, absurdity and erudition, Matsin has created an original and liberating vision that even offers a moral: even when situations or conditions change drastically, life tends to go on and surprise us.

Janika Kronberg

The setting of The Gogol Disco could be called a gamboling dystopia, or even a parody of a dystopia. In another respect, one could say it is parabolically grotesque. In any case, Matsin’s soaring imagination leaves most other Estonian fantasy writers shuffling, with both feet planted firmly on flat lands.

From "Paavo Matsin’s performances" by Jan Kaus