Mindaugas Grigaitis, 2008 01 14

In brief: Most probably, every young writer is dreaming of writing a work that would equal to works created by literature professionals. Young authors often want to revolt against recognised authorities of literature. No doubt, too big ambitions lead to loftiness and emptiness. On the other hand, the flight of creative outbreak grants original features to a young writer.


Last year the Doctor student of Philosophy of VMU Tomas Kavaliauskas published his first novel “Farewell”. How did the young rebel, who attracted the attention of the article writer by his short story in the almanac “Kaunas Young” in 2005, succeed in a bigger work? After starting the book, the author of the article felt disconcerted - “Farewell” reminded of a soap opera scenario.


Hope did not vanish that something deep might be hidden under the simple plot. Moreover, the author stated in the annotation that he was concerned not about the love story but about the relation of a human being and history, the situation of a post-soviet person. However, the hopes to discover new and original method of speaking about the post-soviet person were frustrated – the writer dipped into banal plot and barren philosophic thoughts.


The post-soviet Lithuanian is a grey individual who has melted in the mass of frustrated society in the novel of T.Kavaliauskas. In the novel, the first years of Lithuania's independence are only poverty, resignation, lack of self-trust, frustration and constant self-pity. The hero of the novel Darius Puras, who found himself in the “civilised west” distresses about everything – that he eats too many bananas, that his parents do not have Palmolive soap, that his countrymen are standing in queues to get food. No life is present behind daily existence for Lithuanians of “Farewell”.


The author of the article does not blame T. Kavaliauskas for creating a wrong character. It is as it is; however, one notices that no irony or self-irony is used, there is no other form of distancing from the character. Such strategy of writing is not beneficial as it may not serve for the description of the stratified post-soviet society. There is no alternative for the image of Darius in “Farewell”, and the impression is made that the author is willing to persuade readers that it is the only possible relation of a post-soviet man with reality.


The language of the novel is not livened up by philosophical thoughts. The constant Hegel-like reflection of Geist should persuade the reader that a man becomes European not when he/she reaches economic welfare but when experiences history, understands that being a European is not economic power but common cultural spirit. Philosophical theses slide on the frozen surface of the novel, and the fact that they are heard from the lips of Regina and Emmi the most often only consolidates the name of Darius as homo sovieticus.


The diagnosis of homo sovieticus is not new to our society; therefore, repeating of it does not grant originality to the work. A writer telling a story about a post-soviet man should be an attentive observer who would not limit with usual evaluation models but would be able to see signs of multiple experience. Thus, we will have to wait for a novel in which the entire polyphony of our life would be concentrated. It was possible to hope after the short story of T.Kavaliauskas in Kaunas young prose writers’ almanac that the novel “Farewell” would become such a work, but the hope disappeared after closing the last page of the novel.

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