Andrei Hvostov (b. 1963) studied history at the University of Tartu and has worked for almost 20 years as a journalist. Hvostov has a different way of approaching Estonia’s history in his books – a certain wish to see Estonia from an unexpected angle. He comes from North-East Estonia, in the area of Estonia populated primarily by Russian speakers.
His first novel, Lombakas Achilleus (Crippled Achilles, 2004), was a very postmodernist book, interesting in its form, almost a collection of quotations and dialogues with texts of the past. In his later creative work, not afraid of polemic, the author is often a myth-breaker and plays on the borders of tolerance, questioning the roots of national identity based on a myth. He may be sarcastic, irritating and even incisive but always interesting, somehow opposed to the general understanding. This does not exclude empathy.
Hvostov’s autobiography, Sillamäe passioon (Sillamäe Passion, 2011), is an engrossing travelogue into the period his generation vividly remembers, but to a place that almost no one knew: the closed military town of Sillamäe. The book was a success: it was awarded the Annual Award of the Estonian Cultural Endowment in 2012. The author was actually already awarded previously for writing about Sillamäe, receiving the 2007 Friedebert Tuglas Short Story Award for his exceptional Sinised Mäed (The Blue Hills).