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REVIEW: 'Extreme Estonia'

Not the fourth installment in Justin Petrone's My Estonia series, as some may have figured, but rather an "unconventional guidebook" from a Finnish Estonian "estoholic resident of Talsinki," Petrone Print's "Extreme Estonia" delivers loads of eye candy and good ideas for tours.

Not quite pocket-sized, it's a practical portable guide (or at least travel planner) and has enough visual appeal for coffee-table/conversation piece status.

Besides the graphic design, the photos, also by the author, are quite nice: pictures of artificial hills of mine waste in the northeast make them look like a remote mountain range; Türisalu cliff is pictured from an unusual perspective parallel to the precipice instead of the usual straight-out-to-sea shot.

Content is balanced between Soviet industrial grit, small-town Estoniana and natural scenery. Tallinn accounts for about a quarter of the book. The last 20 pages are a section on curious place names, such as the village of Aa, Love, Urge and other favorites.

The copy may lack a little punch, something that is bound to happen when a non-native translator's text is post-edited by a native English speaker, but those looking for the leaden constructions of EAS brochures (or, come to think of it, even some conventional mass-market guidebooks) won't generally find them here; it's a Petrone Print title.

And since the book is pushing 200 pages, an index would have been a practical addition, although it should be noted the absence of one is the norm for the region.

Rating: ****
Extreme Estonia, by Terhi Pääskylä-Malmström, 192 pages, Petrone Print 2014, paperback, €15

- Kristopher Rikken

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