An Estonian author and stage director, he is best known for his early novel Huvasti, kollane kass (Goodbye, Yellow Cat), which established his literary reputation in his home country. His other works include The Black Motorcyclist and Autumn Ball.
He wrote his first novel, Goodbye, Yellow Cat, when he was just eighteen years old. He went on to study journalism and literature at Tartu University.
His 1979 novel Autumn Ball brought him international fame.
He was raised in Voore Parish, Estonia and was one of three children.
He was a contemporary of American writer Joseph Heller.