Description: This "documentary novel," the latest of Estonian author Mati Unt's deadpan and playful works to be translated into English, is about a little-known period in the life of the great Bertolt Brecht, when the writer—having fled Nazi Germany— became stuck in Finland awaiting the visa that would allow him to leave Europe for the United States. As BB, the avowed communist, continues enjoying the bourgeois pleasures of pre-war life with his wife and tubercular mistress, the Soviet Union is not-so-quietly annexing Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia; and the gulf between Brecht's preferred lifestyle and his inflammatory polemics grows larger and larger. Both affectionate and irreverent, this portrait of one of the twentieth century's great authors mixes together a variety of comic styles, excerpts from contemporaneous documents, and Unt's trademark digressions, producing a kind of historical novel as interested in interrogating the past as simply recreating it.
Opening: PART I: HE ARRIVES: 1940: BERTOLT BRECHT ONBOARD SHIP AT NIGHT: when Brecht notices that it is growing dark outside over the sea - he can see this through the misty porthole - he goes up on deck for some reason or another.
Interesting rather than enjoyable.