FREE Delivery in the UK.
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Estonia has been added to your Basket
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Ships from the UK. Former Library books. Great condition for a used book! Minimal wear. 100% Money Back Guarantee. Your purchase also supports literacy charities.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Estonia Hardcover – 27 Oct 2011

2.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
£17.99
£8.44 £0.31
Note: This item is eligible for click and collect. Details
Pick up your parcel at a time and place that suits you.
  • Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
  • Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
How to order to an Amazon Pickup Location?
  1. Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
  2. Dispatch to this address when you check out
Learn more
£17.99 FREE Delivery in the UK. Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Special Offers and Product Promotions

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.




Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics; 01 edition (27 Oct. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606994654
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606994658
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 3 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,524,612 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

...Estonia bristles with fascinating detail. --Ian Thompson

...Mr. Theroux largely uses Estonia as a space for his own purposes, transforming this admirable country into a grotesque but clever caricature perfect for use as... a stage for Mr. Theroux's verbal pyrotechnics and some fine jokes... I laughed a lot, but guiltily. --Andrew Stuttaford

Catch the wit and the venom, the depth and the breadth, of this honest account of 'a strange, unlooked-for place at the back of beyond' where 'the fascination of its strangeness' renders it a fitting subject for a curious report by a memorably talented, ever off-kilter, chronicler of oddity. [Rating] 8/10 --John L. Murphy"

Mr. Theroux largely uses Estonia as a space for his own purposes, transforming this admirable country into a grotesque but clever caricature perfect for use as... a stage for Mr. Theroux's verbal pyrotechnics and some fine jokes... I laughed a lot, but guiltily. --Andrew Stuttaford"

Estonia bristles with fascinating detail. --Ian Thompson"

Some of the most interesting travel books happen by accident. .... Despite all [his] genuine delight in the quaint, not merely linguistic but extending also to Estonian architecture, what Mr. Theroux mostly shows us about the country and its people is exasperation, irritation, furious rage. . . He takes endless potshots at their food . . .but by the time you . . . find a section titled 'What did I hate about Estonia, ' it s no surprise. --Martin Rubin"

The best travel writing is uncomfortable and, perversely, obviates the need to see the place yourself. I've begun reading Alexander Theroux on Estonia from Fantagraphics and it is the god d@mned best. "

About the Author

Alexander Theroux is an award-winning novelist, poet, and teacher whose prose works include Laura Warholic or, The Sexual Intellectual, Estonia, and the two artist monographs The Strange Case of Edward Gorey and The Enigma of Al Capp. His novel Darconville s Cat was chosen by Anthony Burgess as one of the 99 greatest post-war novels. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife and children.


Customer Reviews

2.3 out of 5 stars
5 star
1
4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
2
See all 3 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In all honesty, this is astoundingly bad. The arrogance and ignorance of the author is unbelievable. How is it possible that Theroux is hailed as "razor-sharp and hyper-literate"? 'Estonia' is packed with appalling historical inaccuracies, misspelled names of Russian philosophers and incorrect details. Theroux filled his book with largely irrelevant and pretentious cultural references. Believe me, I like a good pretentious cultural reference, provided the author actually knows what he is talking about, but this is plainly not the case here. Theroux dares to quote Ernest Gellner, whom he clearly has not read or understood. Rudimentary knowledge of nationalism theory - or actually, just basic decency - would have prevented the author from publishing this pointless and pathetic rant.

I moved to Estonia this year and my experience has been fantastic: friendly people, lovely conversations, creative projects and inspiring ideas. It's interesting! It's inhabitable! It's just a normal place, a place like (and unlike) any other.

This book should not have been published. Ever. Ever.
1 Comment 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
My first ever review for quite simply the worst book I have ever read. There needs to be a zero rating.
1 Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Estonia is a book written as if the late 20th century development of fragile self-censoring neuroticism had never happened. It is a fascinating artefact, tangentially 'about' Estonia but really a genuine work of art. For a frame of reference one might want to reread Pierre Menard By Borges. 18th century travel writing provides a robust example for anyone in this era of PC madness, and AT writes in a way that Smollet and Sterne would have appreciated (AT returns the exclamation mark back to its useful role, after years of stupid banning by literary editors. A small point.) The larger one is, which the book keeps posing, why do we keep on mistaking ignorance for sincerity and truth?
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1.7 out of 5 stars 18 reviews
40 of 47 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Extremely hateful and inaccurate 24 Dec. 2011
By William P Ross - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hello, I feel compelled to write a review as I am an American living in Tallinn and purchased this book.

It is one of the most hateful books I've ever read. There is even an entire chapter called "Why I hate Estonia", and almost every sentence starts with "I hate..." Here's how that chapter starts: "I hate the pointless cold. I hated the fact that most people are sour but consider that normal. I hated the ungrammatical '5,2 litre' alcohol content comma, when it should be a period '5.2' liter!"

The author is badly uninformed about the region. Sentences like "I have heard similar things about Latvia". Riga, Latvia is a 4 hour bus ride away...

Many of the authors complaints are about how unfriendly the people are. In my experience it's the exact opposite and Estonians are noticeably friendlier than Americans.

At one point in the book he mentions "There is a disconcerting amount of graffiti in Estonia". Again, badly misinformed about the region. There is significantly more graffiti in cities such as Berlin, Prague, and Kiev.
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Aspires to wit and literacy... achieves obnoxiousness and pretension 18 April 2012
By Mr. J. B. Oates - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
OK, so why is this book such a dud?

There is maybe a third of a good book here- some interesting and outre sidelights on an interesting and outre country. The problem is that- as the author admits himself- this book, ostensibly about Estonia, ends up being about the author and his own prejudices. Too many of his comments are rather banal: several pages on "Estonia has pretty women", "Estonian winter weather is rather cold and dark", "George Bush is an unintelligent frat boy", or "Saku beer is rather good"- a debatable proposition in any event.

Theroux doesn't much like Estonia, but there is some secret pleasure to be had in his Pooteresque lack of self awareness as the Estonians visibly back away from him. It is soon quite clear what they are doing so. Theroux aspires to witty malevolence, but achieves cranky obnoxiousness. He is the school teacher you most hated abusing the fat boy at the back of the class. He loses his temper and behaves with astonishing rudeness when a fellow American makes what he believes to be a grammatical mistake: he must be the Grand Wizard in the 666 imperial chapter of the Grammar Nazis. His acerbic pen portraits of the (American)fellow scholars in his wife's Fulbright group reveal little. Lesbians are, well Lesbian, no wait, they are also unattractive, and they clearly don't much like Alexander Theroux, so may be safely dismissed. An American Estophile is clearly a booby, by definition, since he -shock- actually likes Estonia, and may be equally dismissed. His several page rants on the evils of Bush or the wickedness of the State of Israel end up sounding like the mumbles of a bag lady. The obligatory ratchet-jaw of the unreconstructed American leftist combines with the inflexible bigotry of the unreconstructed Catholic to make this author balls-achingly charmless. Estonians, generally Libertarian and amongst the most secular peoples in the world, are highly unlikely to warm to such a bigot- as they surely did not.

And in the end neither do we.

The book also has so many literary faults. After a while you end up asking where on Earth this guy's editor- or at least fact checker- was. Mistakes of fact are not really forgivable in the Internet era- and I found seven in the first eleven pages, after that they come thick and fast, but I gave up counting. As for the style... The irrelevant quotes, with non-English ones only translated in the notes, the leaden learning, heavily worn, are not signs of a good literary stylist: they are little more than pretentious. So Estonia is not mentioned in Hamlet? So what, neither is Vegas, particle physics or Theroux's own home town of Boston. His dismissal of Estonia as peripheral is not a function of Estonia's own lack of virtue or interest, but simply of the author's ego.

So, if you fancy several wasted hours learning a little about Estonia and a lot- much of it inadvertently revealed- about an elderly American leftist bore (and boor), then maybe this book might be for you. Alexander Theroux carries all the faults of his brother, Paul, yet with less inquisitiveness and infinitely less charm.

In the end, though, come to Estonia and see for your self what a great place it truly is... do it in the summer, and you may end up enjoying it as much as Alexander Theroux's wife, Sarah, clearly did- after her curmudgeonly husband was safely out of the way.
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The worst book I have ever purchased! 20 Jan. 2012
By Vanaema - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book says more about Alexander Theroux than it does about Estonia and Estonians! He seems to be a glass half empty person and someone who failed to get to know Estonia and the Estonians as we have done. He appears to have expected Estonia to be just like any part of the United States and, as it isn't, been thoroughly disappointed in it in every respect. I've never read such a negative book nor one that is merely a writer's self indulgence in his own misery. I gave up on it very soon and would recommend that no one wastes their money on it. The oil painting by his wife which appears on the cover says it all!

It should be called "A Peripheral Ramble Through the Periphery" to emphasise how little he knows about Estonia or its people. No sense emerges of his engagement with the people or with the culture as we know it; his principal viewpoint seems to be that neither is like America and its people and culture and, therefore, not worthy of careful examination or analysis.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Rambling Therouxs 29 Jan. 2012
By tony loorparg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I must first admit that my personal bias as an exiled (by the Soviets)Estonian,living down under in another "periphary" colours my view of this book.Having read one of the first Amazon reviews for the book and noted the negativity expressed there,I was somewhat intrigued as to what Theroux's problem had been during his "winter of discontent" while accompaning his wife on a Fulbright Scholarship in Estonia.I made the mistake of purchasing the book to discover that the author was merely using his "Estonia" as a sort of stage to show off his intellectual prowess and extensive reading by using a series of quotes which seldom helped to clarify and more often created confusion as to what exactly he was on about in describing the country accurately. Indeed he seems to spend more time talking about other countries than the country that the books title claims to be about.I generally have not minded being the brunt of uninformed "witiscisms"about the land of my birth over the last sixty years,but I found this tome more akin to the sort of writings produced by Putins FSB and Nashi youth propoganda machine.Sadly it also reinforces for others a feeling of also being shafted by another occasional"ugly American" (I am reminded of a lesser reaction, from some quarters, to his brother Paul's travel book on the Pacific Islands and New Zealand).
My only recommendation is to Mrs Theroux ,PLEASE next time when you are traveling,leave your husband at home!
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Error prone and self obsessed 18 Jan. 2012
By ballettlover - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
For those who haven't had the pleasure of a trip to Estonia, Theroux's book presents a grossly misleading picture of this Baltic state. For those who have been, I suspect that most will be as angry as I was at his defamation of this fascinating country. Avoid the book, not the country.
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know

Look for similar items by category


Feedback