New Translation of a Classic of Lithuanian Literature

December 12, 2022

This fall, the Pica Pica Press publishing house, located in Flossmoor, IL, USA, was pleased to announce for the first time in English, a release of a classic of Lithuanian literature, Fall Comes from the Forest (Miškais ateina ruduo) by Marius Katiliškis, translated by Birutė Šležas-Vaičjurgis.

Written in exile in 1957, the novel is a love letter to the land Katiliškis left behind. Set in the deep woods and bogs of northern Lithuania in the period between the two World Wars, this is the tragic story of a young man struggling to find a place for himself in the world. In the winter, Tilius and his friend Petras work as lumberjacks, but as the spring thaws arrive, Tilius loses his chance at a post as a border guard when he gets into a brawl. So instead, he accepts a job as a hired hand at the nearby Doveika farm. Caught between his love for the innocent young Agnė and the seductions of his mistress Monika, Tilius is buffeted by circumstances and his confusing and sometimes uncontrollable emotions. With the lame herdsman Laurynas keeping guard, the story flows through the seasons to its inevitable conclusion.

Kirkus Reviews found the fresh language of the book consistently compelling. Violeta Kelertas, an Affiliate Professor at the University of Washington, noted, “No other writer has captured such a vivid and detailed picture of independent Lithuania between the wars, revealing both the complications of its daily life, the beauty of its nature, and the tortured reality of those striving to realize their hopes and dreams. Loved by generations of native speakers, the book makes for delicious reading that no one will be tempted to put down. Move over, John Steinbeck of East of Eden fame.”