The last day byJaroslavas Melnikas

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The last day by Jaroslavas Melnikas

Lithuanian fiction

Original title – Rojalio kambarys

Translator – Marija Marcinkute

Source – Reivew copy

I’ve been late getting to this as it came out a while ago from the small press Noir press whose books I have reviewed before. They have been bringing some of the brightest writers from Lithuania. Jaroslavas Melnikas has written six novels, collections of philosophical essays in Lithuanian he has also written poetry and prose in Ukrainian and a novel in French. He has worked for a number of Magazines including Laima and Woman. He is a member of both the Lithuanian and Ukrainian writers union. He won the BBC book of Ukraine with this book. This is his first work to be translated into English.

A very strange situation unfolded in the country and across the whole planet. Everybody was convinced that a divinity existed. But where was it? The sun shone, as always, the sky was still there, as were the clouds, the trees and animals. The world hadn’t changed; everything was alive, vibrant, but the hidden divinity was nowheere to be found. There was just that book, which appeared out of nowhere.that simpy infuriated everybody.God, if you decide to reveal that you exist, and in such an original manner, then show yourself!

The book of everyones last day changes the way the world is and they think about God.

This is a collection of eight short stories some from a few pages to others about fifty pages long. The collection opens with the title story the Last day based in an alternative world where someone has the power to find out when everyone dies and these days are published in books this shows how people deal with knowing when the last day is and what they do. The second story we find a man Jura thinking about the times he has played his grand piano at his home in his grand piano room only for his family to deny there was ever such a room he even remembers his wife seeing him play but she denies this ever happen he is left question as he walks through a door to a different plan or has he just imagined all this. Other stories see a woman grow younger a sort of female version of Benjamin Button she rediscovers her sexual prowess. Other see a man following directions but where are they leading him? Then a man ends in a cinema watching a film that never ends about a girl called Liz where reality and life get blurred.I laughed at an early line about the film saying it was a film that seems pointless as it was plotless.I was reminded that is something My Amanda would say about some of the films I watch.

Nikodimova was sixty when she noticed the small bloody discharge. She didnt take any notice at first, but then the skin under her eyes became smoother. Just like that. She began to feel like living and enjoying herself. And the birds and spring. In the mornings, while in the morning, while in the shower, she discovered her body was astonishment. Not in the prime of youth, of course, her skin drooped here and there, but still, in shape, sufficently supple.

She could reach hjer toes without bendingher knees, the stream of water pleasantly drumming against her vertbrae and her waist, running in a warm stream down her bottom and thighs

The tale of Nikodimova and her growing younger when she turns sixty.

 

This a great collection. The stories all make you as the reader thinks about what is the truth behind each one each story.  There is a lot about who people are, what we are! who we are.! Those major questions like how we look shown when the Nikodimova the sixty year starts growing younger she get the neighbors talking. The other thread is the community as in the Soviet era of close living where everyone was on top of each other at times the identity gets blurred as shown in the grand piano room a story about shifting truths with a nod to the Soviet past. These would make great short tv series in the style of something like The outer limits used to be.  Where we are asked to accept various views of the world. Then asked to read greater into the stories than what is on the surface. An interesting collection of stories from a new writer to us in English. Noir press have brought an interesting writer out one of the best short story collections I have read in recent years.

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3 from Maclehose and a Lithuanian crime novel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am showing some recent arrivals for the blog first we have three books from Maclehose press. First off is After winter by The Mexican writer Guadalupe Nettel I have featured her book The body where I was born   This is a novel set between Prais and new york, two people on either side of the Atlantic have troubled lives until they meet.Nettel is regarded as one of the best Mexican writers around.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up is another writer from Latin America, that has also featured on the blog. this is the latest from Juan Gabriel Vasquez, he has featured three times on the blog. This is his most ambitious book The shape of ruins based on an actual event in Columbian history just after world war two, this event and one of the characters involved also inspired Gabriel Garcia Marquez in his book one hundred year of solitude.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last book is the one I am most intrigued about. One clear ice-cold morning at the beginning of the twenty-first century by Roland Schimmelpfennig. Is the first novel from the renowned German playwright. It follows a wolf as he wanders one cold morning into the Heart of Berlin and sees the morning through his eyes. An unusual sounding book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then we have The music teacher the latest book from Noir books a publisher bring the best in Lit from Lithuania. This is their first crime novel. A small town police investigator who had an affair before with her music teacher. She is now investigating the murder of a teenage girl and her ex-lover now a local politician is putting pressure on too close the case.

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