Inga Gaile

Inga Gaile (1976) is a Latvian writer who has published poetry, plays and prose. Last year, her debut novel Glass (Stikli, 2016) was translated into Estonian. It was initially published in the novel series “Us. Latvia, 20th Century” that allowed Latvian authors to delve into the recent past of their homeland. Gaile focuses on the 1930s, more specifically on the rule of Karlis Ulmanis. This setting should hold a special appeal for Estonian readers because there are quite a few similarities between the political atmosphere created by Ulmanis and that of Konstantin Päts, who ruled Estonia during the same period. However, Estonians may be enlightened or even startled to read about the idea of national purity that took hold of Latvia at the time and considerably influences the plot and fate of the characters. The Institute for Research on National Vitality is not a grotesque joke but a fact – as well as the sterilisation law that accompanied this drive for purity and entered into force in 1938. However, Glass is not striking only as an honest insight into the recent history of Latvia, but also an evocative psychological story about the love between a doctor working at a psychiatric clinic and his patient. This way, Glass is a suggestive story about the conflict between emotions and customs, fear and desire, but also about the possibility of intimacy between men and women. Inga Gaile will be joined by author and translator Kai Aareleid.

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