Vilnius. Wilno. ווילנע
Kristina Sabaliauskaitė, Lithuania's most widely read author and a rare case of bestsellerdom meets quality literature, has a Ph.D. in art history and is the author of three run-away best-selling novels (Silva rerum, Silva rerum II, and Silva rerum III), covering the history of a Lithuanian family of nobles from the mid-17th to the mid-18th century in the magical and too little-known world of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The historical detail and rich, polyphonic language of her historical novels serve to drive, rather than slow down, the narrative. In her collection of modern stories Danielius Dalba & Other Stories, another best-seller, the author shows what a wide canvas and use of language she is capable of. The three stories chosen here are prose poems to three different Vilniuses – and yet the same Vilnius – seen from different perspectives, Polish, Jewish and Lithuanian. A feast awaits the reader.
In 2011 Kristina Sabaliauskaitė was awarded a St. Christopher statue by the Vilnius City Municipality, the highest honour it bestows, for portraying Vilnius in her fiction.
This collection of three of Kristina Sabaliauskaitė's short stories, which have come from Danielius Dalba & kitos istorijos, are intertwined in the deepest sense of that idea as a Vilnius narrative. Vilnius, Wilno, Vilna – are three perspectives opening up Vilnius, three ways to see and understand this amazing multicultural Central European city. 'Franco's Black Pearls,' 'The Return of Samuel Vilner,' and 'The Weather Vanes of Vilnius' are three prose poems written to Polish, Jewish, and Lithuanian Vilnius, masterfully avoiding ethnic or religious illustrativeness. Vilnius is Vilnius - just as Kraków is Kraków. Take away just one component of the historical self-consciousness and memory of this Central European town and all of its picture and historical fabric will be distorted. Czesław Miłosz and Tomas Venclova understood this perfectly in writing their epistolary masterpiece 'On Vilnius as a Form of Spiritual Life.' Kristina Sabaliauskaitė also understands that perfectly.
Translated by: Romas Kinka
Format/pages: hardback / 168 pages
Publisher: Baltos Lankos