• Burning Cities

May 2018


Part of the Peter Owen World Series: Baltics


Burning Cities is a poetic historical saga by Estonian author Kai Aareleid, in which the fortunes of a small family parallel those of a small nation under Communism. A young girl growing up in Soviet Estonia is witness to tragic events both grand and domestic.

Opening up about her family history, Tiina revisits the first two decades of her life following the Second World War, in Tartu, Estonia. The city, destroyed by Nazi invasion then rebuilt and re-mapped by the Soviets, is home to many secrets, and little Tiina knows them all, even if she does not know their import. The adult world that makes up Communist society, is one of cryptic conversations, undiagnosed dread and heavy drinking. From the death of Stalin to the gradual separation of her parents, Tiina, as a young girl, experiences both domestic and great events from the periphery, and is, therefore, powerless to prevent the defining tragedy in her life - a suicide in the family.

Translated for the first time into English, Burning Cities is an intimate portrayal of life under Soviet Communism and an absorbing family drama told with poetic precision.


Translated from the Estonian by Adam Cullen



Kai Aareleid, copyright Janis Deinats KAI AARELEID (b. 1972, Tartu) is an Estonian writer, whose début novel, Vene veri (Russian Blood), was published in 2011 to wide acclaim. After her second novel, Linnade Põletamine (Burning Cities), was published in 2016 she was awarded the accolade Estonian Writer of the Year. She is also a prolific translator into Estonian and has translated works by Bruce Chatwin, Javier Marías, Paulo Coelho and Roberto Bolaño.

Photo © Janis Deinats

Bibliographic Data
Date Published May 2018
ISBN Number 9780720620290
Pages 256

Burning Cities

  • £9.99


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Tags: kai arelid, aerelid, kae areleid, kai aarelid, kai aareleid, burning cities, cities burning, burning city, world series, baltics, baltic literature, estonia