Kristina Sabaliauskaite – Silva Rerum [I]

silvarerum  So right away let’s make it clear. Kristina Sabaliauskaite is a Lithuanian author, one of our best writers, if I do say so myself. Silva Rerum in latin means “Forest of things“, more or less, and so was called a family book where great, usually noble boyar families would write the most memorable or the most important things that have happened in their family.
Silva Rerum follows a Lithuanian boyar family in 17th century. Their twin kids, girl named Urshule and boy Kazimieras. Urshule has her own rather rotten side. She dreams of becoming a nun, a saint, so that people would worship her and most of all – her body wouldn’t rot the way their pet cat did when it died. Kazimieras in this case – doesn’t care for much on this Earth. He knows well and good that we all will rot in hell, no matter how good or bad, or what great things we’ll do. Their mother, be it her good life, be it her miscarried or dead children or no wish to actually have them, who knows now, is in a crisis, for she can’t find a way to express her own identity. She wants to be someone else, rather than this woman, this mother, this wife. She even dreams of shaving her head and going to war, just to be away and see an adventure. That bothers me on a personal level, so I won’t talk of her. And then there’s the a lot older husband, a wise fool, if I may say so. A smart man who avoids too many things and thus it often results in too many things falling down.
Then there are their friends and true adventures that we do see. Twins, while growing up, had a friend from the village nearby, a boy who got madly in love with Urshule, but lacked the will. Pride won over him and next thing we see is how new soldiers and riff-raff were recruited in those times. Eventually they traveled to Vilnius, our Capital City, the Heart. They got there right on time for a student parade where for the first time we see a truly Bulgakov worth hero in this book (although I might also say that people in this boyar family could now and then fit the roles of Master and the Margarite), Jonas (pronounced as Yonas, not Jhonas) Kirdejus (also, Kirdeyus, our j is like y, always), who as a coincidence, plays a role of some kind of a faun, an evil trickster in the parade. We hear the story of the french smith with whom the family stays while visiting Vilnius, and we see the tragicomical, horrifying monasteries and Urshules undwindling will to join one and become a saint. In the mean time, her brother is finding friends and attending parties that’d be worth Voland himself!
It’s an amazing book, with every character so detailed, so brilliant. With every entry into the Silva, the book of the family, we anxiously await for the upcoming disaster, for we soon notice – it’s what happens. And then there’s this will to read faster where the characters you like less express themselves, just to move to the ones you do enjoy reading of. There are no dialogues, sentences are long and vast, and yet it was such an easy and wonderful read, that it’s truly a shame we don’t have a translation of it yet. There should be one, after all, we do have fantasy books translated, well, why not this? Anyways, I’ll give it 5 out of 5 and it goes straight among my favorite ones.

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