Jānis Ezeriņš (1891–1924) was born in Biksēre (now: Cesvaine) parish at Beiri homestead. He attended Cesvaine and Lazdona church parish schools and also the Valka Teachers’ Seminar in Valmiera. He worked as a teacher in Lazdona, Barkava, and Salkava. He was mobilised during the First World War but was discharged due to tuberculosis and underwent treatment in Abkhazia. Back in Rīga, he worked for various press publications. He died in Rīga and was buried at the Forest Cemetery.
Ezeriņš wrote his most significant works shortly before his death, and his writing had (and continues to have) a profound impact on later Latvian writers – for example, Regīna Ezera during the 1960s and 1970s. He translated and was influenced by classics including Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, the Old French legend Aucassin and Nicolette, the short stories of Giovanni Boccaccio, and Stendhal’s novel The Red and the Black. He also translated the poetry of Alexander Pushkin, Charles Baudelaire, and Alexander Blok.
Ezeriņš is known in Latvian literature as the master of the anecdotal short story. His works are filled with coincidences, tragicomic and incredible events, surprising resolutions, fast-paced plots, and expansive exposition focused on people and their environment. Especially noteworthy is Ezeriņš’ ability to draw attention to the mindset of his characters, which makes his short stories particularly effective. At the same time, his stories contain so many different plots and situations that Ezeriņš’ literary works can be seen as a kind of encyclopaedia of literature.
About the collection of stories and novels // Diena.lv, 2012 [LV]
"Ezeriņš" - the play about Jānis Ezeriņš and his novels // Latvijas Nacionālais teātris, 2014 [LV]
1924, The Culture Fund Award for Street Organ
The Tower and other stories
The Tower and other stories (Tornis un citi stāsti)
Title: The Tower and other stories
Title*: Tornis un citi stāsti
CEU Press, Hungary
For the twenty-first century reader these stories evoke the atmosphere of the post-war, newly independent, fairly multicultural Latvia, rural mysticism hued with the "fine neurosis" of the emerging modern era.