Tonight I Shall Sleep by the Wall Giedra Radvilavičiūtė

Tonight I Shall Sleep by the Wall

Published: 2010

ISBN: 9789955236696

Number of pages: 228

Cover: Paperback/softback

Publisher: UAB Baltų lankų leidyba

These short stories, which can also be seen as semi-autobiographical essays, mostly deal with everyday occurrences, seemingly insignificant experiences and perceptions. Their sophisticated sensibilities reveal a rich existence, a deep sense of every quotidian moment. They are also very readable, devoid of any pomposity or exultation, often tinged with irony, dealing with such experiences as illness, physical fragility, loneliness, inability to pursue stable relationships, the burden of domestic chores, and so on.
“Writers are completely naked in their texts, even when they desire to conceal themselves under fantasies, such as the Middle Ages or the Renaissance, events from other lives, or the opposite sex,” says Giedra Radvilavičiūtė. Some of the stories deal with the situation of a middle-aged woman, living with her daughter in a small flat in the Old Town of Vilnius; they look deep into everyday events, but at the same time the exquisite literary quality of the text contributes to a rewarding reading experience.

One of the segments in this book, ‘The Allure of the Text’ (which was included in the Dalkey Archive Press anthology, Best European Fiction 2010), lays out five criteria for a good literary work, which the author then goes on to illustrate in the unfolding story. Another story, ‘Those Whom I Would Like to Meet Again: An Introcution', is a narrative reflection on a very diverse set of characters.a

Giedra Radvilavičiūtė

Giedra Radvilavičiūtė (1960) could probably be called the most fashionable Lithuanian writer. This is strange, because she is one of the staunchest critics of the proliferation of poor-quality literature, and an outspoken advocate of a higher quality of reading. After teaching literature in a school and briefly doing research work in the USA, her writing career began in the late 1990s, when she started publishing essays in the cultural press. We might say that she is the mother of the modern Lithuanian essay, which is now the most popular genre of prose; but few can compare with her in terms of controlled style and structure. Her essays deal with everyday experiences, which are transformed as if by magic into wonderful spectacles. She often discusses the situation of woman, and questions various cultural and social stereotypes of the woman. A self-confessed admirer of Vladimir Nabokov, she is quite frank and personal in her literary work.

Šiąnakt aš miegosiu prie sienos (2010)

Radvilavičiūtė’s second collection of essays, shortlisted for the Book of the Year award in 2011, and a winner of the European Union Prize for Literature in 2012, in some ways continues the themes and moods of the first collection. The main character, if essays can be said to have characters at all, is a single and lonely woman of a certain age. However, the first book dealt with the relationships between men and women much more directly. This one is more circumspect, and the emphasis is on loneliness rather than on relationships. Loneliness is dreaded, desired, and impossible to achieve. The central theme is complimented by a broad variety of other themes, easily discernible references to mundane, everyday life, from brand names to Hollywood stars. It reveals her personal attitude towards society and its problems. Some critics note that these themes make the book easy to read for a very wide audience, hence its popularity. But it is not ‘popular’ literature. As writing, it is both complicated and skillfully controlled. The doyenne of the essay keeps getting better at it.

Other books by Giedra Radvilavičiūtė


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Publishing house “Baltos lankos” was established in 1992 with intention to publish high quality literature. The range of our publications is very wide: new books by Lithuanian authors, translations of elitist foreign literature as well as most popular works of fiction, crime fiction, monographs, children book, academic writings are constantly being brought out. “Baltos lankos” continuously search for new possibilities to publish new titles, collaborate with translators, national and international authors.