After a long and difficult winter, spring has finally burst out in Toronto while I am overwhelmed with writing projects that keep me at my desk.
See the photo below for where I would rather be.
I am rewriting the novel inspired by the memoir of Jonas Budrys, working on a collection of stories, and starting yet another novel inspired by the Rhyming Assassin of Lithuania, Kostas Kubilinskas.
The LRC has asked me to work up an essay on Eastern Europe, and I am preparing talk for a conference in Lithuania, Santara Šviesa, which I try to attend every couple of years.
One book needs to be blurbed and another finished for my talk, and in the meantime, I wish I could settle down and read Out of Ashes, a new history of Europe, one that has received excellent reviews.
Not really complaining, though. Just saying.
I presented the Lithuanian translation of my 1997 story collection, Buying on Time, at the Vilnius Book Fair between February 21 and 23. The Lithuanian title is Pirkiniai išsimokėtinai. The collection has already been translated into Chinese and it will be translated into Italian (online) this year as well.
The Lithuanian translation of Underground, called Pogrindis, appeared in Lithuania in 2013. Here’s a link to an article about the novel’s background (in Lithuanian) as well as an interview with Tomas Donela, who has optioned the film rights. As for the novel itself, it’s available from the publisher at the link here.
For details of the book fair, see my blog post. Also her are a few more links to Lithuanian reviews and profiles: 1, 2, and a third one here. (If the last link doesn’t work, as mine is having trouble, you can find the review at Literatura ir Menas).
Here’s a Lithuanian television interview I did for an operation called “Alchemija.”
I am so pleased to have sold the option to Underground
to Tomas Donela of Donelos Studija.
I saw his film, Atsisveikinimas, in the European festival that played in Toronto last fall, and was particularly impressed by the cinematography.
It would be great to see this project come together.
Update: May 31, 2016:
The Lithuanian Ministry of Culture awarded twenty-eight thousand Euros for development, so a few years later, this project is still alive.
I was working through galleys of one of my books last weekend, and while this is not so unusual an activity for a writer, what is unusual is that the galleys were for a book that came out in 1997.
Porcupine’s Quill is doing another printing of that collection of stories, which has never ben out of print, I might add. But the films were so old the proces had to be done again. There is also an ebook of Buying on Time now available at the Porcupine’s Quill site.
I hadn’t read this material for fifteen years and it was a delight to read it again. I had even forgotten some of the jokes and laughed anew (I don’t usually laugh at my own jokes). Publisher Tim Inkster warned me to resist the urge to rewrite. That was very hard to do because I am a rewriter by nature.
But Tim did permit me a few corrections – oddball things. The book had already been through four reprints, but I still found a couple of details we had all missed. I called sandwich meat “baloney” for 150 pages, and then somewhere around page 180 I elevated it to “bologna”.
Most writers do not reread their works, and I never do once they are in print, so this was instructive. The lesson is that a work of fiction is never finished to the writer – one could keep on writing forever, but editors and publishers wisely forbid us to do that.