Kaur Kender


Short stories

About Kaur Kender


Kaur Kender (b. 27. V 1971) is a writer, translator and businessman, one of the best known and most sensational authors of the new generation at the turn of the millennium.

He was born in Tartu, studied in Rakvere, and for a time he studied semiotics and literary theory at the Estonian Institute of the Humanities in Tallinn. He has worked as a copywriter, been involved in investment, for a short time in 2013 he was editor-in-chief of the newspaper Sirp, and he has been active in creating computer games. He was the producer of the game ‘Disco Elysium’ (2019), which won numerous prestigious awards as the best computer game of the year.  

With his first novel, Iseseisvuspäev ('Independence Day', 1998), which won the Literature Endowment annual award, Kender made a powerful entrance into the Estonian literary landscape with his strikingly different imagery and writing style. This is a new type of author, one who is versed in the ways of the advertising world and able to exploit them, consciously and assuredly creating his own trade-mark. Kender involved himself in mass culture deliberately, changing the understanding of what is literature and what can be regarded as literature. Contradictory reactions arose to his very first novel, about which both the form and the content attracted attention – the burgeoning capitalism of the Estonia of the nineties, in which the protagonists are two typical so-called ‘toughs’, Karl and Marks, whose lives revolve around three basic components – money, women and alcohol. Kender maps out the contemporary world and the people in it with fairly salty language, occasionally calling into question various fixed attitudes and assumptions. His works contain social criticism, irony, even Biblical allusions, such as in his novel about the advertising world, Yuppiejumal ('Yuppie God', 1999).

The use of the tricks of mass-market literature, a certain component that might be seen as pornographic, robustness, drugs, the world of money and brands, as well as a good skill in story-telling, are ingredients that make up the core of Kender’s work. In this respect a good example is the novel Check out (2001) in which physicality has a very important role to play. Shifting boundaries, different tricks of style and genre, are typical of Kender. The most controversial example of this is a short story which led to a court case, Untitled 12 (2014), which uses the techniques of transgressive literature, and in which the reader stands defenceless face to face with the perverted and horrifying world of a brutal psychopath. The work gave rise to debates about the nature of literature and the boundaries of free expression.

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

Books in Estonian

Iseseisvuspäev. Tallinn: Kaur & Kender, 1998, 132 lk. [Järgmised trükid: 2000, 2001, 2007, 2009.]
Yuppiejumal. Tallinn: Täht, 1999, 119 lk. [Järgmised trükid: 2000, 2007.]
Check out. Tallinn: Pegasus, 2001, 195 lk.
Ebanormaalne. Tallinn: Eesti Keele Sihtasutus, 2000, 293 lk. [2. trükk: 2007.]
Yuppiejumal. Crack. Tallinn: Eesti Keele Sihtasutus, 2000, 130 lk.
Yuppiejumal. Loti tütred. Tallinn: Eesti Keele Sihtasutus, 2000, 137 lk.
Pangapettus. Tallinn: Pegasus, 2002, 225 lk.
Kuidas saada isaks. Tallinn: Hilana, 2003, 190 lk.
Comeback. Tallinn: Eesti Keele Sihtasutus, 2010, 237 lk.
Check Out 2012: kõvaks keedetud, ümber lõigatud ja uues rahas: Grand Theфt Coиtry: Эlбoonia. Tallinn: Nihilist.Fm; ZA/UM, 2016, 263 lk.

Short prose
Yuppiejumal. Crack. Tallinn: Eesti Keele Sihtasutus, 2000, 130 lk.
Yuppiejumal. Loti tütred. Tallinn: Eesti Keele Sihtasutus, 2000, 137 lk.
Kaur Kender, Rain Lõhmus, Raha. Tallinn: Äripäeva Kirjastus, 2002, 166 lk.

Kaurita: ühes vaatuses, kuue tõste ja mõne räpiga. Tallinn: ZA/UM, 2014, 45 lk.