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Border State

by Tonu Onnepalu

Estonia's leading writer, who is well placed to observe the way former Eastern Europeans are sucked in by the excesses of the West and become emotionally crippled. Very lyrical.

Extract

Franz only had himself to blame, isn't that right, Angelo? I was thinking, why did he have to choose me? At that restaurant by the canal as I studied him from across the table (squinting my eyes, as if because of the sun). This elegant, intelligent Franz, who was greying at the temples but who still had a youthful body that he exercised, scented, pampered and dressed in smart, expensive clothes. It always reminded me of the mummy of that young pharoah we had gone together to see at the Louvre. Why did he choose me as his victim, when he could have chosen anyone, any beautiful boy or girl from among his students? I'm sure there are fools even today! But no, he chose me, an East European, because who else would have listened as reverently to his rebellious tirades?

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