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In the Shadow of Rooster Hill (excerpt)

Osvalds Zebris

Osvalds Zebris was born in

1975. His first book, a

collection of stories in 2011,

earned him the Annual

Latvian Literature Award for

best debut; this novel is his third book.

Great repression followed a failed uprising in Latvia in 1905.

In this novel, a rural teacher’s assistant arrives to Riga at

Christmas the following year, hoping to shed the feelings of

guilt he feels for a crime he committed in the 1905 turmoil.

A gunshot from him had inadvertently hit a boy. Having

escaped punishment, he gets it in his mind to make some

kids happy. So he robs the schoolhouse where he worked,

sets it on fire, and sets off to Riga to find some children to

delight. So begins this quaint, macabre, claustrophobic tale.

This novel has been included in

We. Latvia, the 20th


, a series of thirteen novels by Latvian writers.

This is its English-language debut.

It is translated from the Latvian by Jayde Will.