So why did Jan Maciej Narwoysz feel fear each time he opened his family silva and took the quill in his hand? Interlaced with actual historical events and characters, SILVA RERUM is set in 17th century Samogitia and Vilnius and narrates the fate of the Narwoysz family, a gripping story of fatal love, deeply rooted superstitions, freedom of will and what it takes to look in the eye of the Vilnius Basilisk — the legendary creature with a lethal glance. The Great Northern War, the Great Plague, the Great Famine, the lavish luxury and the deadly hunger, the Swedish and Russian soldiers, the Jewish doctors, the Dutch cardsharps, the Turkish concubines, the French ladies-in-waiting, the stubborn Samogitians and the ironic Vilniusites; the anonymous monk, who has buried more than twenty thousand plague victims and, of course, the next generation of the Narwoysz family. A "memory puzzle", it will reveal the fates of the previous Narwoysz generation, though some of them are such that the hand which is to write them down into a silva rerum - a family chronicle filled in by each passing generation - starts to tremble Was this the plan of the Omnipotent Lord? Or was it just the omnipotence of a blind accident?
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Our historical novel is in very safe and talented hands. She is the only one who tells our own history so convincingly and we grab it as the blind people the probbing cane, we devour it in huge bites and drink it in gulps of a thirsty traveller.
And the aching epoch emerges from the fogs and comes into a shape She does not has to jump over the heads of others because she holds the greatest power of prose. Under the roof of one sentence she places images, history, dialogues, thoughts, descriptions and emotions, and they follow each other as the perfectly placed musical notes of an experienced composer.
I could never answer this question — all these novels are quite different as different are the periods they depict. But after reading the final, fourth part, I dare say: this one I must confess I have not read such alluring prose in a long time, it is impossible to tear oneself off this book. It is for a reason she is compared to Marquez - due to the sensuality and magical atmosphere, and to Umberto Eco - due to erudition and the play with conventions.
Barbara Lekarczyk-Cisek, Kulturaonline. A truly monumental text was born. A book,extraordinary in many ways. If someone would ask me what is it about, what so serious and important happens in it that has touched me so much, I would reply, that it is, simply, a book about the life [ The essence of this book is also a poetry.
A poetry of life, which strikes you at different stages of life and is experienced by every sensitive human. I cannot compare this book to any Polish book. The language of this book is extraordinary". Joanna Szwedowska, Radio 2 literary critic. Surprisingly, it seems that Lithuanian authors can offer books on the level of the best foreign fiction that appears in our market" and "Silva rerum" is undoubtedly one of them".
Boguslaw Karpowicz, lubimyczytac. This is a wonderful book: besides being the literature of the very highest quality, very wise and wonderfully written, it is also a page-turner. A true literary sensation originating from Lithuania.
Such novels as "Silva Rerum" bring back the faith in literature and its capabilities consequently exploring the History to tell a fate of a generation and a family. It is a panorama of the experiences and feelings, realised through the looking glass of the History. It will arouse your imagination and will give you an aesthetic pleasure through the magnificent language of, in fact, a very complex novel.
Silva Rerum" is an exceptional, in many ways innovative prose that lives up to the best examples of Scandinavian sagas. Kowalczyk, Culture. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth is almost absent from the contemporary Polish fiction.
A splendidly written, marquesian novel which takes place in seventeenth century Lithuania and eventually reminds us that the history of Central Europe is our shared narrative. It is now obvious that the author is one of the leaders, perhaps even one of the chief strategists of contemporary Lithuanian prose.
It is unlikely, that Fortune would intend to turn away from Kristina Sabaliauskaite. A thirst unsatisfied. This is probably the first book about contemporary, nowaday Lithuania, which is seen by the eyes of many different people. This is Lithuania as we know it in well told stories of desires, longings, dissatisfactions, hurtfulness, hopes and dissillusions. Leonidas Donskis MEP, www. And not because of certain glamour, though you obviously disagree with its rules because they feed antifeminist culture which hurts self-respect of many women, including myself And you cannot escape the Death in Vilnius.
Vilnius, which is known to the world as the death scene of a famous french actress, as the execution place of thousands of Jews, as the place where such a talent as Daniel Crowbar has no chance to be born. The author masterfully opens our wounds, pours some salt on them and hopes them to heal. I must confess, I opened this book with anxiety. I expected interesting storytelling and did not want dissapointment. I was not dissapointed. These short stories play the game with the reader.
Behind the storytelling there is the intertextual level - author gives hints to certain events, recognisable characters and thus the story evolves as something altogether different. One is left guessing whether these recognitions are true, and this is part of the game.
Her stories flow easily and she is not keen on artificial stylistic adornments nor wants to prove that the literature of quality has to be hard to read.
And this, we must admit, is not a common case in Lithuanian literature. A very successful step into different genre. I can not quite grasp what makes it — the excellent style, the intuitively mastered art of storytelling or the bright and harmonious emotional and intellectual inner world of the author. Roland Barthes this way wrote in the Eighties.
Kristina Sabaliauskaitė - Silva Rerum