Bees on the Snow
"Šaltenis’ prose ... is formal but riotous in tone... it may take the reader some time to acclimate to its peculiar rhythms, but the wide assortment of intersecting lives and disputed histories makes for an amusing puzzle."
Bees on the Snow by Saulius Šaltenis holds its own with the great allegorical novels of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. ... Although Bees on the Snow is dark and complex, a sly sense of humor and strong narrative voice make it seductive reading.
"...there is a simplicity and beauty in the language which lifts this piece above the mundane. Even in the most poignant moments, an element of humor is not far behind. A most unusual find."
"It is witty. It is serious. It is storytelling at its best."
"As a novel, Tūla has two major, impressive strengths: its vivid, impressionistic depictions of Vilnius and especially its run-down Užupis neighbourhood favoured by artists, the topography of which the narrator’s life story is intricately woven into; and its free-flowing, lyrical prose..."
"[Tula] is deep, lyrical, sharp, and it’s a glimpse into the human soul, feelings, and needs. It’s a space for rediscovery and reconsideration."
"Down and out, often drunk, more often hungover, frequently lovelorn, nostalgic, disputatious, the narrator traverses the forgotten corners of the republic and beyond."
"A belief in and preservation of human memory is what allows Kunčinas to overstep the boundaries of a totalitarian discourse and set his novel in the more universal context of the existential situation of the 20th century individual."
"It is this very real enchantment and the pervasive sense of weirdness just about to make sense that carries the bravura first part, even as events descend into chaos and violence."
"[This} is a forceful statement that is on its way towards becoming a touchstone of 20th Century literature."
"Gavelis’s urban grunge and his portrayal of the bleakness and absurdity of Soviet life provide the perfect backdrop for what, at times, is a curiously hilarious novel."
Textual Cultures, Indiana University
"The Lithuanian capital itself, a gray, monotonous Soviet city that Gavelis renders with startling and brutal clarity, offers ... no escape."
"There’s a lot here: passion, madmen, crushed hope, a stinking city and the stench of human rubble."
"What Joyce did for Dublin, Gavelis has in mind to do for the capital of Lithuania: chide it, gossip about it, and bore it into the memory of those who may never visit it."
"Vilnius Poker should be essential reading for those seeking to understand the tortured, complex psychology of a small (European) nation under foreign (Russian/Soviet) rule."
"Gavelis’ vision ... recalls both the alternate worlds of Stanislas Lem (and, for that matter, Richard Price) and the acerbity of Vilnius-born Csezlaw Milosz."
"Those willing to devote the required mental energy ... will be rewarded with a supremely interesting literary experience."
in the Holy City of Vilnius
"It is thoroughly original, work, witty, clever, complex and determinedly negative about Lithuania and Lithuanians."
"Sun-Tzu's Life is, in many respects, an unusual novel, making for a different kind of reading experience."
"What would a Horatio Alger story look like if it were written by a Lithuanian communist who had never been to the United States and who was determined to sling satire in all directions? Frank Kruk ... would be the answer."