Trends in the Lithuanian Contemporary Novel (1989-2010)

Tiina Kattel (University of Tartu)

In this paper I will discuss literary and thematic features common to Lithuanian writers in the 1990s and the following decade. Both decades are strongly marked by a more or less open analysis of contemporary problems. Another common feature is the authors’ interest in recent history. In the 1990s, “getting even“ (Ričardas Gavelis) and writing chronicles (Jurgis Kunčinas) were popular, whereas in the following decade revisiting the time when one was young (Sigitas Parulskis, Renata Šerelytė) and a playful interpretation of themes (Marius Ivaškevičius) were prevalent. A recurring feature in contemporary Lithuanian literature has been writers’ play with language, style, and topics, which started in the 1990s and is still continuing. Other features include an emphasis on what might be called “city mentality,” which made its way into Lithuanian literature with the writings of Ričardas Gavelis, and the breaking of sexual taboos. Both decades are also characterised by the emergence of very strong women writers. In addition, in the 1990s commercial literature was born (Edmundas Malūkas), which shocked the literary world; by now it has developed into high quality, smart popular literature that serves commercial purposes (Zita Čepaitė). The Lithuanian novel has definitely undergone renewal, both in essence and in form, and several topics or literary techniques that were formerly considered taboo have now become commonplace due to the increasingly liberal mentality of the populace.

Comments are closed.