Apocalypse ballads 0

Vilija Virkutytė
www.kamane.lt, 2015-08-10

In brief: R. Šerelytė "Cocoon ballads" intrigue the reader with a new genre in Lithuanian literature and an unusual topic. A chosen social sci-fi genre combines the topic of apocalypse and social criticism. "Cocoon ballads" will befit those, who are not afraid to look at themselves with new eyes.

We can already guess the genre of the book by looking at the title - "Cocoon ballads." However, ballad is a genre of poetry and music and the discussed book is a novel made up of sci-fi short stories.

It should be noted that the book is close to the tradition of magical realism. It seems like there is no boundary between reality and miracle in the "Cocoon ballads." The combination of fantasy and reality is a crucial feature of magic realism. It is no coincidence that the book annotation reads, "After all, we created our own laws, which do not protect us, we built houses, whose walls do not provide warmth and invented tales we do not believe in. Therefore, even a dog taking a motorboat for a ride on the streets of Vilnius is more real than the daily routine - who knows, which reality is invented?"

In her novel R. Šerelytė depicts a chaotic Vilnius, but also sums up the situation of entire world. Earth begins to cool down, no laws of physics work anymore, there is no time, colors and smells disappear. One of the most important motifs of the book is a black water coming from the depths and flooding the earth, "as if the heart of the earth had stopped and the blood magma of the cold fiery artery turned into a black oily mass and would be rising up to the sewer manholes" (p.131). Black water - a symbol of collapse of civilization, when nothing else remains except the highlighted vices of people.

The world R. Šerelytė creates is not only gloomy, but also tragicomic and grotesque. The novel is attributed to the genre of social sci-fi genre, thus separate portraits are important here - the examples of social criticism. The book depicts people of different social strata (and not only people): professor, maid-nanny Emma, a head of advertising agency, writer, writer's wife elf, a horse faced girl, a prickly dog, child, language inspector. However, the individual portraits form a whole and reflect our society. Author depicts people who had lost their true values and who are obsessed with manias and have disabilities. The main characters are trying to survive the chaos of the world, but not everyone succeeds.

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