Forthcoming books

Our exciting upcoming publications.

Memoirs draft 1

Memoirs of a Life Cut Short
by Ričardas Gavelis (trans. Jayde Will)

Pages: 190 (approx.)
ISBN: 978-1-908251-81-7
Publication: 12 February 2018
RRP: £11.95

Memoirs of a Life Cut Short 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.

Gavelis is an internationally acclaimed writer, with his seminal work Vilnius Poker translated into English in 2009, as well as into numerous other languages, most recently French.

I Loved a German
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I Loved a German
by A.H. Tammsaare (transl. Chris Moseley)

Pages: 260 (approx.)
ISBN: 978-1-908251-83-1
Publication: 12 February 2018
RRP: £12.95

From the Estonian Literature Centre:

“What happens when you think you have fallen in love with a woman, but it turns out that you love her grandfather instead?

“A. H. Tammsaare’s I Loved a German is a gripping love story, in which the classic love triangle takes a very untraditional form. The plot is centered around a young Estonian university student who falls in love with a young Baltic German woman. The Baltic Germans have lost their former aristocratic position in society since Estonia declared its independence. The young German earns her keep as a tutor for an Estonian family, and is not economically well-off. The young man, Oskar, starts courting the girl frivolously, but then falls head-over-heels in love with her.

“Before long, the prejudice that an Estonian and a Baltic German are of socially unequal standings starts to stalk the couple. When Oskar goes to ask Erika’s grandfather — a former manor lord — for the girl’s hand, the meeting leaves a deep impression on his soul. All of a sudden, Oskar finds himself wondering if perhaps he doesn’t love the woman in Erika, but rather her grandfather; meaning, her noble descent. Perhaps the “slave’s blood” of farmhands who had been in the service of Baltic Germans for centuries is manifested in his love, instead?

“Does love depend solely upon the emotions of two young individuals, or are their origins, their social and cultural background actually the deciding factor?”

White Shroud
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White Shroud
by Antanas Škėma (transl. Karla Gruodis)

Pages: 150 (approx.)
ISBN: 978-1-908251-84-8
Publication: 12 February 2018
RRP: £10.95

White Shroud (Balta drobulė, 1958) is considered by many as the most important work of modernist fiction in Lithuanian. Drawing heavily on the author’s own refugee and immigrant experience, this psychological, stream-of-consciousness work tells the story of an émigré poet working as an elevator operator in a large New York hotel during the mid-1950s. Using multiple narrative voices and streams, the novel moves through sharply contrasting settings and stages in the narrator’s life in Lithuania before and during World War II, returning always to New York and the recent immigrant’s struggle to adapt to a completely different, and indifferent, modern world. Strong characters and evocative utterances convey how historical context shapes language and consciousness, breaking down any stable sense of self.

As in other major modernist works, Skėma uses language and allusion to destabilise. Narrative, voice and language shift continuously, capturing the anti-hero’s psychological and cultural disorientation — the complexity of experience in a modern world where, in Yeats’ words, “the centre cannot hold.” Like the author’s, Garšva’s frame of reference is vast — quotes from French arias, Kafka and American culture collide with visceral memories of archaic Lithuanian folk song. Garšva’s use of poignant and comical émigré slang in his interactions captures the ironies and absurdities of the immigrant’s situation. By the end of the novel, further grammatical and linguistic disarray mirrors the final unravelling of Garšva’s mind as he descends into madness.

Like all powerful fiction, this novel draws the reader into an intimate, culturally and historically specific world to explore universal human themes of selfhood, alienation, creativity and cultural difference. This English translation promises to appeal to various audiences: readers of modernist and world literature, scholars of Baltic literature and refugee studies, and members of the Lithuanian diaspora unable to access this novel in Lithuanian. Written from the perspective of a newcomer to an Anglophone country, White Shroud encourages readers to better understand the complexities of immigrant life.