Memoirs of a Life Cut Short

Memoirs of a Life Cut Short

9.56 11.95

by Ričardas Gavelis
translated by Jayde Will

Pages: 190 (approx)
ISBN: 978-1-908251-81-7
Dimensions: 210 x 140 mm
Publication: 12 February 2018

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Memoirs of a Life Cut Short (Jauno žmogaus memuarai) is a damning document to the falsity of a system that slowly crushed everyone in its wake. It is a Bildungsroman for the Homo Sovieticus: the reader sees the development of a regular, ordinary person in Soviet conditions who in one way or another becomes part of the system, and soon realises that it is almost impossible to change it or extract oneself from it.

In fourteen letters from beyond the grave to his friend and teacher Tomas Kelertas, protagonist Leonas Ciparis talks about his life from his earliest days up until his last; his rise from lowly beginnings to the upper echelon of the Communist Party illustrating the possibilities of the new Soviet person.

The novel brilliantly illustrates an aspect of Lithuanian society that is understood to exist, but is rarely talked about openly. On a broader scale, the reader is helped to understand the effects of totalitarian systems on the human psyche through the lens of Lithuanians living under Soviet rule.

“In 2016, twenty-seven years after the novel was first published, the United States and Europe are fighting particular wars, feeling tension both in reality and in virtual space, and suffering the crises of (ultra)nationalism that is categorically and militantly approaching totalitarianism. The simple question posed in Jauno žmogaus memuarai – ‘What could an intelligent person admire in that [Soviet – JČ] phantasmagoria?’ – again seems as urgent as ever." – Jūratė Čerškutė, Vilnius Review

Ričardas Gavelis (1950–2002) was an internationally acclaimed Lithuanian author, playwright and journalist. He studied and worked in physics for several years before discovering his talent for writing whilst on assignment at a popular science magazine. He was a successful writer for some time before publishing his seminal work, Vilnius Poker (1989), which has since been translated into English (2009) as well as numerous other languages.