LITHUANIAN QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Volume 27, No.4 - Winter 1981
Editor of this issue: Antanas Klimas
Copyright © 1981 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.
Elnar Sanden, KGB Calling Eve. Cardiff, Great Britain: Boreas Publishing House, 1978. Pp. 224. Available at Draugas. 4545 W. 63rd St. Chicago, III. 60629
KGB Calling Eve, written by Estonian born Einar Sanden, has been called 'A Handbook for every Western tourist who intends to visit the Soviet Union.' Although written about Estonia, the book applies to all countries taken over by the Soviet Union.
The story revolves around Irja Parve — Eve, who finds herself working for the Intourist office in Soviet Estonia. Working as a tourist guide, Eve becomes caught up in the KGB's deviate web. However, she is not only a tourist guide — she serves the KGB unwillingly as a spy. By spying upon the tourists, Eve will, "Make the great idea of Communism become a reality."
As this true story continues, Eve becomes the first Estonian to be 'married off to an exile by the KGB. A Harlequin romance it's not. A mannequin romance — maybe. Eve is told by the Secret Service, "We are depending on you using your feminine charm to help."
Now an instrument of the KGB, Eve feels like a puppet. Her every move is connected to a string held by the KGB. In two years time, she is instructed to get a divorce and marry another 'special case'.
Written in the first person, the protagonist has compared her episodes to that of an actress rehearsing her lines on stage. When questioned by the tourists about life under the Soviet regime, Eve could never possibly express her true thoughts. She has only dreamt of the food the tourists are served. The Soviet's 'new renovating techniques' have built buildings which are uninhabitable in a few years time. Instead whe would answer, "Life is always improving." — An echo of a Soviet speech. The Estonians had a saying, "Speech is silver. Silence is golden." Now they say, "Silence is golden. Speech is sand."
Although the KGB may appear subtle in its dealings (to the unaware outsider), the book is not. The message comes loud and clear. The KGB is not your neighborhood friendly service. KGB Calling Eve can be categorized as blatant anti-Communist propaganda and some readers may be insulted by its naivete. However, the story is a true depiction and Eve's integrity lies not in how she deals with her fear of the authorities, but in her patriotism to the homeland. It is her candid honesty that is to be appreciated.
This 264-page document offers a detailed account of how the KGB keeps a watchful eye on every tourist who enters the homeland. KGB Calling Eve is written in easy-to-read prose and print and can be perused in one or two sittings. It is an entertaining story and is meant for virtually anyone interested in the lifestyle behind the Iron Curtain.