Paavo Matsin (1970) is an Estonian writer, one of the most peculiar authors writing today, and his playful novels either repel or charm. Matsin’s works combine esoteric erudition and surrealist humour. His first novel Doktor Schwarz. Alkeemia 12 võtit (Doctor Schwarz. The 12 Keys to Alchemy, 2011) is characterised by a cryptic plot, intertextuality that is impenetrable to a layman, and an abundance of bizarre characters and situations. His next novel Sinine kaardivägi (The Blue Guard, 2013) takes the readers to the Latvian capital Riga and offers a clearer and even exciting plot in addition to alchemic and literary games. His breakthrough came with his third novel Gogoli disko (Gogol’s Disco, 2015), which won both the prose award of the Estonian Cultural Endowment as well as the European Union Prize for Literature. The novel is set in Matsin’s idyllic hometown of Viljandi. The colourful life of the province, which has been transformed into mostly Russian-speaking in the novel, is disrupted by the literary classic Nikolai Gogol who has come back from the dead. In his depiction of Gogol, Matsin seems to draw from Jesus, Golem and Woland in equal measure. The result is a fun dystopia, a science fiction novel and a parody of a science fiction novel. The 2017 book Must päike (The Black Sun) takes the readers to Võru, where the plot involves the author of the Estonian national epic Kalevipoeg, Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald and some evil storks. It is nearly impossible to predict what Matsin has in store for his readers next – we expect no less from him. Paavo Matsin talks to writer Mait Vaik.