Tales from the rough reality 0

Vilija Virkutytė
www.kamane.lt, 2015-11-26

In brief: M. Sauka collection of short stories - Roughly (Grubiai, 2015, Vilnius: Lietuvos rašytojų sąjungos leidykla) - is a poignant and open look of a young artist at himself, those around him, objects and phenomena, full of humor and irony. M. Sauka reveals the rules, stereotypes and superstitions that exist in life and creative work. Maybe that is why his short stories are full of absurd situations and limitary states. When reading a book, one feels constantly surprised by the author’s language play and ability to see unexpected details in everyday life.

This year, the First Book competition announced by the Lithuanian Writers' Association in a prose category was won by Mykolas Sauka collection of short stories Roughly. M. Sauka is a young writer, who has recently begun to publish his texts in the cultural press. He is also a sculptor, a graduate of sculpture at Vilnius Academy of Arts.

It can be argued that the title Roughly is perfectly in line with the book. Perhaps the meaning of the title is best revealed in the story Roughly. The price named by the washing machine fixer, "Altogether, roughly, about two hundred" (p. 95) raises some interesting thoughts for the protagonist, "I thought that I had never met a fixer, who, instead of roughly, would say gently, lovely, delicately, to the letter, carefully. Maybe it is a characteristic of fixers. To judge things roughly" (p. 95). A crude reality is truly unfolding in the short stories, full of very spot-on and comical observations of the author. Humor and irony - one of the most important characteristics of this collection of stories.

M. Sauka book reveals the young person's ironic gaze at the world, himself and others. The main characters of the stories are mostly young artists, but they can barely deal with real-life situations and often are unable to distinguish fantasy from reality. Author highlights the Lithuanian specific behaviors - from the unnecessary praising of Eurovision to the applause of passengers, upon landing of the cheap flights aircraft. The book focuses on the "artistic" consciousness of writers and poets.

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