Olle Lauli

About Olle Lauli


Olle Lauli (given name Olev Lillemets, b. 21. X 1961) is a prose writer.

While working as a specialist at the State Forestry Management Centre, Olev Lillemets produced his first work of fiction in 1987 in the journal Vikerkaar. He earned wider attention with the novel Niguliste õpilased (‘The Students of Niguliste’, 2007), which appeared under his pseudonym and won second prize in a novel competition in 2007. In 2012 the novel Kodutus (‘Homelessness’, 2011) won the annual prize of the literary fund of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia.

Characteristic of Lauli’s novels are detailed descriptions of diverse environments and characters created through dialogue. The protagonists are living on the edge in one way or another, and/or in extreme situations. Aspects related to time, the body and names play an important part. Typical of Lauli’s novels also are an existentialist dimension, and the theme of sufferings and the possibility of redemption.

In Niguliste õpilased the prime mover of the course of events is the meeting of the main protagonist Johannes with Maria, an untidy Russian girl, in the market. The relationship, of a strongly physical nature, leads to a confrontation with a giant woman who regards herself as the girl’s guardian, and the result is Johannes’ impotence and mental breakdown. The novel takes a look at, among other things, the (parallel) Russian world, not much depicted in Estonian literature. The protagonist of the novel Kodutus lives in Lasnamäe, primarily associated with Russians, and abandons accepted rules and norms, preferring simple existence to routine attendance at work, regardless of the fact that it leads to homelessness. With its panoramic scale, moving between different epochs and generations, the novel Kuristik (‘The Abyss’, 2018) deals with subjects associated with fate(fulness), heritage and nationality.

A. K. (Translated by C. M.)

Books in Estonian

Niguliste õpilased. Tallinn: Verb, 2007, 535 lk.
Kodutus. Tallinn: Tuum, 2011, 487 lk.
Kuristik. Tallinn: Gallus, 2018, 439 lk.