Andrus Kivirähk is the author of the bestselling humorous Estonian pseudo-history novel The Man Who Spoke Snakish, published in English by Grove Atlantic in 2015. Kivirähk is remarkably prolific, innovative, and one of the most beloved and talented Estonian writers today. The virtuoso can easily shift from one style to another, producing short stories, newspaper columns, plays, children’s literature, and screenplays. He varies black humour with an unexpected tenderness that causes one to smile through their tears.
What was the last book you read?
Henry Kissinger’s World Order.
Which writer would you have loved to have met and why?
I’m entirely satisfied with good works by good writers and haven’t the least desire to meet the authors themselves. I have more than enough good friends for going to the pub with and don’t need any more of them.
You’re stranded on a desert island. What three books would you want with you?
Since I’m 100% sure that I’ll never end up on a desert island, it’d be an obvious waste of time to work out a response to the question. In any case, the number of books I couldn’t go without is at least closer to a hundred, not three.
What do you like about your job?
It’s hard to say. But it’s the only job I know how to do. It’s the only job I’ve wanted to do since I was a child. It’s the only job that doesn’t seem like a job, but rather the sole way of living.
Go on, let us know your musical guilty pleasure.
I like silence. All the radios and sound systems are turned off at my house.
What would be the title of your biography?
Since a biography would only be written after my death, if at all, then I won’t bother to think of a title.
Which great novel have you tried to read but failed?
Hesse’s Steppenwolf is an unbelievably bad book, in my opinion.
What is the silliest thing you have on your desk?
Two little figures that I was given at a “meet-the-author” event. They resemble something between a fox and a meerkat.
Tell us about a passionate interest you have outside the business.
Maybe football? I like to watch the big matches and even entire tournaments. It’s almost as enjoyable as reading through a thick novel.
Who has been your greatest inspiration, and why?
Some of the people I’m closest to, I suppose—it’s nice to surprise them with my works and be able to hear what they think of them.