Travel – The Indrawn Heart: An Estonian Journey

The Indrawn Heart: An Estonian JourneyThe Indrawn Heart
By Max Boyle
Publisher: Lakeshore Press
ISBN: 978-0984644063
Published: 2013
Pages: 213
Genre: Travel
Format Available For Review: print, pdf

Is Estonia home to the most introspective nation in Europe? The stereotypes of Estonians might suggest so, depicting a reticent and uneffusive people for whom, according to their own proverb, ‘speaking is silver, silence is gold’.

Early one summer, Max Boyle, of part Estonian origin himself, departs his native West Yorkshire to travel the country, of which little beyond the capital, Tallinn, and a Eurovision Song Contest win in 2001 is known in Britain. He takes with him a copy of ‘You Are So LIttle, Little’, a poem by tragic nineteenth century writer Juhan Liiv which speaks of Estonia and its ‘indrawn heart’. In an adventure which supplements a backpacking journey with an offbeat behavioural and literary enquiry, he explores his ancestral home, inviting Estonians to comment on Liiv’s verses and their own view of themselves.

Finally, he comes to terms with memories of previous, troubled visits to Tallinn, and exorcises the ghost of an unhappy liaison with an Estonian woman.

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