Tula Jurgis Kunčinas


Published: 2015

ISBN: 9789986398523

Number of pages: 254

Dimensions: 145 mm x 217 mm

Cover: Hardback

Publisher: Lietuvos rašytojų sąjungos leidykla

Tūla (1993) is every Lithuanian art student’s favourite book. Roaming through the old streets of Soviet Vilnius, the nameless narrator drinks, wastes time, and remembers the week he spent with Tūla, a girl he was hopelessly in love with and then lost. The memory is the only thing that really matters in the otherwise pointless, dreary and boozesoaked life of the narrator, who is in fact a literary type in his own right, a ‘vagabond intellectual of Soviet society’, as a critic once called him. Thus, the novel is three-fold. It is a story of star-crossed lovers, and unattainable, impossible, and, in a way incredible, imagined love. Tūla herself does not have a single line of speech in the whole book. It is a love song for Vilnius, seen through the soft focus of bleary drunken eyes. It is also a valid social commentary on the late Soviet years, and the situation of a well-educated, creative person who is at odds with the regime, and thus has no place in society.



But then, domine, I was already in the Second Section – I’ve already mentioned it rather vaguely. Vasaros, Rudens and Olandų streets, right up to the rise of the Polocko line on the southeast, were its natural boundaries, where for almost two months I made myself at home. The hospital territory was, obviously, much more restricted. On the east side rose a steep, pine-covered slope, which when climbed opened into the valley of the Butterfly Cemetery. On sleepless nights, domine, above it I would fly to the corner of Filaretų, and there, making a turn to the west, I’d be flapping to Malūnų Street...
There’s nothing to hide any more: the Second Section was a poorly disguised sanatorium for alcoholics – most of the time they’d write into the hospital admission records that such and such a person suffered from a disturbance of the central nervous system. This was certainly true, but there wouldn’t be a single word about hallucinations or phobias, or about hangover syndrome or cirrhosis.

Jurgis Kunčinas

Jurgis Kunčinas (1947-2002) is still one of the most popular Lithuanian writers. Very prolific, he wrote mostly half-fictionalised autobiographical stories, some novel-length, some shorter. He also published several books of poetry (including poetry for children), and a few collections of non-fiction essays. He was a very proficient translator from German. In life and in work, he was known for his ability to sense beauty in the mundane, and even in dirtiness, and for his humour, sometimes bitter-sweet, but often side-splitting, which is rare in Lithuanian literature. He is also known and admired for his penchant for describing well-known places and cityscapes (usually of Vilnius, but also of his native Alytus), and for transforming them into something intrinsically romantic and beautiful. Kunčinas is also one of the most widely translated Lithuanian authors: his works are available in Polish, Russian, Swedish and German. His often drunken vagabond characters invoke comparisons with Charles Bukowski and beatnik literature.


Lietuvos rašytojų sąjungos leidykla
K. Sirvydo g. 6, 01101 Vilnius

Tel.: (8 5) 262 1637
Fax.: (8 5) 262 8945
Email: info@rsleidykla.lt

Lithuanian Writers' Union Publishing House was established in 1990. Currently we publish around 60 books per year and are ranged between 10 biggest Lithuanian publishing houses. The scope of our publications is wide: new books by Lithuanian authors, including prose, poetry, essays, memoirs and critical studies, also the first books by young authors, books from the literary canon and exiled authors as well as translations of elite foreign literature.