First novel in English translation by one of Estonia's leading contemporary writers. A semi-autobiographical Bildungsroman, set in the early 1960s, it narrates the efforts of Kaplinski's youthful alter ego to lose his innocence and attain sexual and mystical knowledge. The twenty-year-old protagonist finds an unofficial teacher in a retired theologian and poet who is out of favor with the communist authorities. After a summer spent in intellectual and erotic soul-searching, the sexual and political intrigues finally overlap, leading to a quasi-solution. KGB and university apparatchiks take a close interest in the teacher-disciple relation of the two poets. The student outgrows his mentor, who despite accusing the human race of puerility, turns out to be a big and jealous child himself.