Jurgis Kunčinas

Jurgis Kuncinas - Jurgis Kunčinas

(1947.01.13 - 2002.12.13)

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Novels about love, about impossible love; novels about loneliness, vagrancy, and fear

Fantasy and mystification; postimpressionism; German surrealism; and Latin American magic realism

Jurgis Kunčinas, a popular contemporary Lithuanian writer, is the master of an especially heart-felt style. The author of numerous stories and essays; his novels have been translated into many languages, and he has been honored with a series of literary awards

Novels: Tūla (1993); The Mobile X-Ray Stations, A Story of Disease and Love (1998); Blanchisserie, or Žvėrynas-Užupis (1997); Bilė and Others (2002); ; Glisson's Noose (1992); Going to War Every Day (2000); ; Pjuut-fjuut! or the Mansion of Lies (2004)

Tomas Venclova: " Jurgis Kunčinas is truly a Vilnius author, comparable to the Poles Adam Mickiewicz and Czesław Miłosz, or the Jews Moshe Kulbak and Chaim Grade. However, he senses "the second city" in Lithuania - Kaunas, and the third - Klaipeda, as well. But Vilnius with its confusion of streets, overgrown parks, amorphous areas and waste lands is Kunčinas's basic sphere... Kunčinas, with "Tūla" and his other stories, conjures the topography of Vilnius in the same way Joyce does for Dublin ".

Magazine "EXPERT"/12-2008/: "Kunčinas was a translator, a Germanist, and an outstanding poet, and his prose is the prose of a poet, an inspired story-teller with a visionary sense. In a strange manner, the musty horror, homelessness and lack of prospects in the decaying Empire is spiritualized by this poetry, so that when reading it there is a painful feeling of a lost world - and a desire to be there, among internal heat of the red-brick churches converted to warehouses where trucks drive, on vacant lots covered in lush burdock and nettle, on the embankment with cast iron railings which a slanting rain lashes. At the center is a strange and wonderful love, which is so connected to death that the transformation of the hapless poet-alcoholic in worn-down boots to a bat rending the damp air with its ultrasonic whistle seems to have the same inevitability as his actual death in the fifty-sixth year of his life". /Natalia Kurchatova/

S. Gedroits: "Alcohol, a smack of philology, an incurable love for an incomprehensible woman, alcohol, the old city (a view from the bottom as well as from a cloud), assaults of historical memory, attacks of spiritual asthma, the Soviet stench, alcohol, loneliness, hopelessness".
Magazine "Zvezda" /6-2008/

Dalija Kyjv: "True art never rests on the surface - it is extracted. And Jurgis Kunčinas has extracted much of the truth of the Lithuanian reality. With the power of the talent he forces us to stand on the bank of the polluted stream and see the patron of the city of Vilnius wandering after it - Saint Christopher, with a staff in his hand in the form of a mighty downed tree and an angel on his shoulder. In this figurative opposition of the holy giant and a small stream, almost a creek, whose current he barely overcomes, he puts forth the idea of the gravity of life, of responsibility towards people and to themselves".

Jurgis Kunčinas is a Lithuanian author, poet, prose writer, essayist and translator

He graduated from Vilnius University majoring in German linguistics. Starting in 1977, Kunčinas published six poetry and seven short story books, essays and novellas for children as well as seven novels.

Nifty stories, bedtime stories

Jurgis Kunčinas also wrote satires, radio plays and film scripts.

"LITHUANIAN LITERATURE": "The old town of Vilnius is the main place of action in Kuncinas' novels. His heroes walk on the same bridges of Uzupys, drink coffee and wine in a cafe in Castle street, see "the misty Belmont forests" out of their windows, like the wandering writer in Ramonas' novella "White Clouds of Last Summer". Mill street, The Bekesh hill, the old University, silhouettes of churches - constantly recurrent architectural space - become important elements of a narrative's integrity. They have, however, lost their poetic lustre and the hidden formula of salvation, because in Glison's Loop and Tula this space is seen from an entirely different point of view. St.John's church is a dump, the church of Saint Mary the Comforter is a warehouse and loaded trucks are pushing in. Not far from White by-street there is a morgue encircled by deadly nightshades. Out of the window of the Drunkards' prison, a former monastery, one can see as far as "the emerald hills of Seskine"; the panorama of Vilnius is still sufficiently majestic, already helpless though". /Publishers "VAGA", VILNIUS, 1997/

Irena Jomantiene: " It is hard to say wether it is the writer's personal experience or just his inborn talent that helps him see the inherent value and unique beauty in every human life. Probably it is both ". /Lithuania in the World, Nr. 23 2002/

Kuncinas' novel Tula

received the Award of the Lithuanian Writers' Union as the best book of the year 1993.
Works by Jurgis Kuncinas have been translated into Russian, German, Swedish, Estonian, Latvian and other languages.
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