Liquid Ink

The official website of Gint Aras, Finalist 2016 CWA Book Award


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Getting compared to your idols

This past week, the Chicago Tribune ran this review of my novel, The Fugue. The reviewer, fellow Chicagoan Dmitry Samarov, called the book “magisterial,” said it goes for all the marbles and compared it to Dostoevsky.

Other commentators have compared my writing to other writers that I love, including Nelson Algren.

All these conversations are insane. They don’t feel real. I’m certain a moment is arriving when a director or other puppet-master will say, “We’re finished, thank you,” then turn off all the lights, unplug the equipment and send all the players back to reality.

I have so many questions about how this all happens. How is it that you read the books of the writers you love, write your own book and then end up getting compared to them? The comparisons are obvious compliments. But what’s going on? Have I internalized these forms, or are they attractive to me because I found parts of myself swimming in them, parts placed in a text long before I was born?

Today, I’d just like to nudge the director or puppet-master, if s/he’s reading. Don’t turn off the equipment. Not for a while, anyway.  I’d like to keep this insane conversation going.

Here’s a self-portrait I took of myself in Queens, NY.

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Live, moderated Q and A this Thursday

This Thursday’s reading at The Looking Glass Bookstore in Oak Park will feature an interesting twist, something I’ve not done before. Amy Danzer of Newcity, one of Chicago’s alternative weeklies, will interview me live before opening the evening to questions. Amy was the longtime editor of Newcity Lit, and has a ton of experience in the publishing world.

I first met her at Tuesday Funk back in December. If you have not read her review of The Fugue, which she calls “A must read,” you can find that review here. She’s an obvious fan of my work and thought of this herself. I’m really excited to do this, and I hope you’ll come.

An Evening with Gint Aras

The Looking Glass, 823 S Oak Park Avenue, Oak Park, IL. 7:00.

(708) 434-5515

You can RSVP by clicking here to access The Looking Glass Facebook page.

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Photo of me standing against a wall in Vilnius, 2007. I took it with a timer, leaving the camera on a dumpster.


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I miss teaching Sophie’s World

The article I composed for tomorrow’s edition of True Community reminded me of the first book I ever used in my sections of English 101. Sophie’s World is one of my favorite books, and not just because it tells the story of western thought. I like it because of the story Jostein Gaarder creates, essentially in response to the dry nature of most philosophy textbooks. It’s a book I recommend highly. This isn’t a book review, not a traditional one, but know that Sophie’s World is one of those books that stands to be ruined for you if you read even the mildest commentary on Amazon or some other place.

I abandoned the book because students found it tedious, way too abstract and, yes, boring. I can’t tell you how shocking I find this. The history of ideas is boring? What do you find interesting?

In the meantime, of course, I’ve developed a Zen practice, and the very concept of dualism is something I would no longer really subscribe to. Perhaps it’s time to bring Sophie’s World back to my classes, and to offer that point of view to the students who’ll end up reading it.

I might just do it.


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My review of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Lietuviškai)

I doubt anybody will be surprised that Fear and Loathing is one of my favorite books. Finding the Moon in Sugar is heavily influenced by Hunter.

I had the pleasure of offering this brief review of the book for LRT radio in Lithuania. Quite obviously, I’m speaking Lithuanian here.

Thanks for listening.