Burning Cities by Kai Aareleid, translated by Adam Cullen

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Kai Aareleid’s lyrical novel is about the disintegration of a family, set largely after the Second World War among the ruins of Tartu, Estonia, a town under Soviet occupation. Opening up about her family history, Tiina revisits the first two decades of her life following the war. The adult world that makes up Communist society is one of cryptic conversations, dread, and heavy drinking. From the death of Stalin to the gradual separation of her parents, Tiina experiences events from the periphery, and is powerless to prevent tragedy.