Mindaugas Grigaitis
www.kamane.lt, 2009 02 17



In brief: Several years ago the young writer Vilis Normanas stated boldly while presenting his novel “Whispering” that his novel would help readers feel the meaning of life. Speaking about the new novel “Grave of Nostradamus” written along with Raimondas J. Nabus, V.Normanas warned that this book was surrounded by strange coincidences – both writers experienced accidents after its issue.

All this reminds of a well-thought self-advertisement campaign. A little bit of mysticism, revolt, drama and criminal story. Sill, there are not so many critics that speak about the artistic quality of works of V. Normanas and R.J.Nabus. “The Grave of Nostradamus” is called a best-seller already; still, no bigger discussions were heard about it yet.

Bighead narcissists or geniuses who are not understood by their time? Or perhaps marketing strategies based on scandals are already usual in literature processes? These questions occurred to the author of the article while reading “The Grave of Nostradamus”.

The plot of the novel is constructed using the thriller principle. Two stories are combined into one story little by little. A mystical sect operates in the novel – it wishes to destroy the Catholic Church. The head of the sect Vincentas and his sons Savras and Demianas are searching for the grave of Michael Nostradamus, where they hope to detect the main manuscripts of the prophet, which should help to overcome the Catholics and reveal the “biggest secrets of the world”.

There are many passions and intrigues in the novel. Mystical wars of religious movements are intertwined with the story of a young New York Times journalist Maria. The authors strive to enhance the intrigue by the Nostradamus prophecy for the year 2014: “The destruction of the solar system is unavoidable. The mysterious cloud will reach the Earth on June 1, 2014, at 9.15 am”.

Thus, there is a bit of everything in the novel like in a Hollywood film: love, eroticism, fight, passion, intrigues and mysticism. Moreover, the authors of the book try to arise interest of readers by self-praising calling the book a best-seller which is first presented to Lithuanian readers before it reaches bookshelves of the USA.

However, the label of “an international best-seller” does not mean valuable literature. The authors of “The Grave of Nostradamus” criticise consumer society greatly; still, they tempt them by very unoriginal advertisement slogans in the agitation to read the book. While criticising the society, the authors do not notice that they are suffering from the same vices.

It is really hard to speak about an original style of the novel. The attempt to create refined language usually ends with slightly funny embellishments. There are many comparisons, epithets, metaphors in the book; however, they do not make experiences of characters poetical, they make the characters primitive instead. The reader is also tired by constant philosophical reasoning.

Literature may contain signs of philosophy, psychology or religion. When these signs are subtly used in the integral texture of the novel, an attractive and persuasive story may be created. Unfortunately, the authors of “The Grave of Nostradamus” fail to achieve this. Usually philosophical passages are left without any clear motivation; and it seems that the writers are willing to show their background more than to create an integral and original work.

After we blow away the dust of philosophising and tear off fanciful language decorations, we see a rather painful view: the writers are unable to articulate their experience or they do not have enough of it so that it would be able to turn into literature. As a result, they nestle to global and ostensibly urgent problems.

Read comments
Write your comment