Liquid Ink

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

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My special guest: Constance Volk

Chicagoans and weekend travelers, be aware: my book launch party is this Saturday, Oct 12th, at 7:00 PM at Volumes Bookcafe in Chicago. The evening will feature Eastern European snacks, a cash bar, and a brief discussion about the process that led to the composition of Relief by Execution. In addition, it will feature the art and music of the absolutely brilliant Constance Volk.


Connie is a painter, illustrator, singer and multi-instrumentalist. She bends boundaries some of us don’t even perceive, and remains among the most open-minded and versatile artists I’ve ever met. Check out her website here.

Her paintings straddle the boundaries of form and chaos, often blending the two into spaces where the line between these apparent poles becomes irrelevant to the experience of the art. I love these paintings:




She’s also a stunningly precise and powerful musician.

Here she is playing flute with Ensemble Del Niente.

Georg Friedrich Haas: In Vain (Ensemble Dal Niente, 02/28/13) from Ensemble Dal Niente on Vimeo.

Here she is singing lead vocals for Vicarious Tool, a Tool tribute band (that uses an electric violin instead of a guitar):

Connie will have recordings and paintings for sale, and she’ll be providing live music for the duration of the evening. I’m sure we’ll hear some fusion between Bach and Slayer, probably played on flute.

Come join us!


Writing Workshop with Gint Aras

Gint Aras is leading a writing workshop this spring, 2017, in Oak Park’s famous Arts District. The workshop is open to writers of any level, aged 16 or older, and registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, maxing out at 8 students.

Classes begin on April 7th and meet weekly each Friday night thereafter, from 6:30-8:30 PM, at the Upstairs Apartment and Lounge (see photos below) above The Buzz Cafe in Oak Park, IL. The Buzz is only steps from the Austin Blue Line Station, easily accessible via the Eisenhower Expressway.

The course focuses on craft. However, Gint will lead students though strategies for pitching writing, identifying markets, maintaining an internet presence, and he’ll share knowledge of Chicago’s growing, exciting independent publishing and book-selling community. The final meeting on May 26th will feature a reading at a public venue in Chicago. Expect surprise guests!

To register for the course, click here and send him a message, including your name. You must have a PayPal account to register.


Prose Writing Workshop, with Gint Aras

Friday nights, 6:30-8:30, from April 7-May 26

Upstairs Apartment and Lounge, Buzz Cafe

905 S. Lombard, Oak Park, IL

Open to writers of any level, aged 16 or older

Registration ends after 8 students have registered 

Cost: $420

Gint Aras is the critically acclaimed author of The Fugue (Tortoise, 2016), finalist for the 2016 Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year Award. The novel was called “magisterial” by the Chicago Tribune and a “masterpiece of literary fiction” by Centered on Books. His other prose and translations have appeared in the St. Petersburg  Review, Quarterly West, Antique Children, Criminal Class Review, Curbside Splendor, ReImagine, STIR Journal, Heavy Feather Review, and he is a former contributing and section editor at The Good Men Project. Aras earned an MFA from Columbia University in the City of New York, and a BA in English and American Literature from the University of Illinois.


Photo by Tauras Bublys Photography


Discussions will take place in this wonderful room.

Buzz room 1

And also at this wonderful table

Buzz room 2

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Next appearances: City Lit Books and Volumes

If you’ve not yet had a chance to hear me read, or you would like to buy a copy of my book from me personally, have it signed, this week is your chance.

I’ll be appearing at two of the best bookstores in America: City Lit Books in Logan Square, Chicago, and Volumes Book Cafe in Wicker Park, also Chicago.

At City Lit, I’ll be reading as part of the Logan Salon Series with the likes of Rachel Slotnick (the visual artist/poet responsible for the stunning mural near the Logan Square “L” stop), Mark Magoon and Ralph Hamilton.  I’m the only author of prose at this reading, so I’ll try to compliment these fine writers by reading a lyrical section of The Fugue, one I’ve never read in public before.

At Volumes, as part of Independent Bookstore Day, I’ll be selling copies of The Fugue between 1:00-3:00, and I’ll probably stick around afterwards to help support other writers. I’m very excited to team up with Volumes, about whom The Chicago Review of Books raved.

Except for a reading in May, these will be my last appearances in Chicago until the summer, as I’m going to Europe for a few weeks to shut my busy ass down.

Logan Salon Series: April 28, 6:30, City Lit Books, 2523 N Kedzie, Chicago

Independent Bookstore Day: April 30, 1:00-3:00, Volumes, 1474 N Milwaukee, Chicago


Photo provided by Volumes.

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Reading in Oak Park, IL next week 

Next Thursday, Feb. 18, I’ll be reading at The Looking Glass Bookstore in lovely Oak Park, IL.  The Looking Glass is a gorgeous bookstore, only two years old, located less than a block from the Oak Park Avenue Blue Line station.

The details:

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

There are two quality pubs down the street, and I hope to join some friends and strangers for a beer afterwards. Hope to see you! 


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The Fugue is now available! 

Dear friends, my novel, The Fugue, is now available for worldwide purchase. I know that fans of Finding The Moon in Sugar will find The Fugue an engaging, challenging but also deeply rewarding read. If you’ve never read my work before, The Fugue is a great place to start. 

So…where can you get the book? 
If you’re in Chicago, I hope you’ll come to my book launch reading and gathering. It’s Dec 17th at 6:30 at City Lit Books. Click on the hyperlink for more details.

Of course, you can order it anywhere books are sold. I encourage readers to support their local indie bookstore. Also, know that The Book Table in Oak Park will be selling signed copies of The Fugue at a discounted price of under $15, AND they ship in the USA. 

The Book Table
1045 Lake Street
Oak Park, IL 60301
(001) 708.386.9800

Obviously, Amazon’s got it. If you do t live near an indie bookstore, or you’re outside the USA and don’t like reading books on Kindle or an iPad, these links will take you to the book.

Amazon USA

Amazon UK

Amazon Germany (Ships to Lithuania!) 

Amazon France

Amazon Japan

Thanks so much for your interest and support. 


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Excerpt: The Fugue (Two priests confess)

This is an episode from a section titled Advent, 1975. The Catholic priests in his scene serve a parish in Cicero, Illinois. While Monsignor Kilba has been at the parish since the 40’s, Father Cruz is brand new. Lars is the church organist, a composer.



Listening to confessions always made Monsignor Kilba hungry. He changed out of his vestments and sat at the kitchen table to nibble on the smoked fish still left there. The large bits were too oily, the small ones too dry, so he wrapped the fish and tucked it all the way in the back of the fridge. Looking through the food, he chose some of the leftover cabbage soup a neighborhood woman had made for the priests. Kilba also took some bread, butter and Lithuanian cheese.

Cruz came in while Kilba was heating the soup at the stove. “Will you make some for me?” He wasn’t changed yet.

“There’s plenty,” said Kilba.

“I’m hungry. I’d fry my chicken livers, but I’m too tired.”

“That’s disgusting.”

“I’ll go and change.”

By the time Cruz came back, Kilba had finished heating the soup and had set the table. He didn’t wait for Cruz before dipping a chunk of black bread into the broth to soften it for his dentures.

“How is it?” Cruz asked and sat down.

The Monsignor ate in small mouthfuls but appeared greedy with the food. “Very good.”

Cruz tasted it. “That woman makes pretty good soup.”

“Not as good as Lars’ wife used to make. She used to make the best borscht.”

“Yes.” Cruz wanted to eat but sat quiet for a moment. “Monsignor, would you listen to my confession before I eat, before I ask a question? Do you mind?”

“I’d like to confess as well.”

“Alright. You want to go first?” Cruz broke off a piece of the bread and sliced some cheese.

“You go first.”

“You sure?”

“All right,” said Kilba. “I’ll go first.” He wiped his mouth. “Bless me, Father. I’m a quality sinner, well ripened and seasoned. It’s been a week since I last reported my filthy deeds. Isn’t that true?”

Cruz nodded. He dipped the bread.

“Very well. This week’s filthy deeds include paging through pictures of naked women, quite young, I don’t know if they were married or not. I confess to having fantasies about Lars’ daughter…doesn’t happen so often, but, you know…the mind is a very soft instrument. I also, believe it or not, told a calling salesman exactly what he could do with his such-and-such merchandise. A blatant use of the Lord’s name in vain, also with a good surge of pride. What else? Yes…I broke a promise to my niece in Racine and did not visit her on Wednesday.” Monsignor Kilba rubbed his fingers together. “You know what, Father Cruz, I also took the batteries out of your tape recorder and put them into mine.”

“Yes, I was wondering about that.”

“Are you angry?”

“No.” Cruz spread butter over his bread.

“Well, then scratch that. Of course, we know about last night’s nonsense with Lars. I drank and ate like a glutton and enjoyed it but for penance felt sick all day today.”

“Is that all?”

Kilba paused. “No…” He tapped his forefingers together and sat up straight in his chair. “It isn’t, actually. There’s something else. I’m afraid it’s quite serious.”

Cruz stopped eating and set his utensils down. “What do you mean?” He was beginning to get a feel for Kilba’s manners—the Monsignor’s tone and posture convinced Cruz he was being sincere.

“During confession today, I heard something that alarmed me, to be honest. And I’m not certain I’m doing God’s work by not telling anyone about it. I wanted to ask you. Have you ever broken the silence of the confessional?”

“Never. No! Not ever in my life.”

“I never have either. But…I’m very concerned about someone. I believe something terrible is happening to someone very close to me.” Kilba paused. “I’m 75 and I have heard many sins in my life. But I never had someone ask me for help in the confessional.”

“You cannot, Monsignor! You’re already telling me too much.”

“I am not.”

“You didn’t do anything today, did you?” Cruz became very agitated.

“What’s the matter with you? Calm down, for Pete’s…” Kilba drank some water.

“Well…it’s strange…I wanted to confess as well. About something similar. Not exactly similar, you understand. But something happened in confession…”

“I bless you. You have sinned. Tell me.”

Cruz spoke hurriedly: “Apart from this week’s lying and getting very angry at people…apart from that. I was furious with Lars for playing the organ today and I told him he had no self-respect. I let him leave the church with no coat.”

“Lars is fine. Tell me what happened in confession.”

“I don’t know which part I should tell.” He rubbed a butter knife on a napkin. “A woman came to confess. I know her. I have seen her many times since I began here at St. Anthony’s. She comes to the parish breakfasts. I…I’m not sure what to say. I didn’t…I recognized her voice and the confession was unorthodox.”


“It wasn’t about anything she did. It was about what happened to her. I…imagined it happening. I imagined what she was saying.” Cruz put the butter knife down and stared Kilba in the eyes. “I became rather fixated on the thoughts. I had a fantasy.”

“Cruz,” said Monsignor Kilba. “Cruz, how old are you again?”

“I’m thirty-one.”

“Cruz, a fantasy is normal.”

“It isn’t normal.”

“Yes, you’ll repeat yourself…you’re supposed to be a priest. This idealism of yours…”

“I’m not an idealist. That’s not what I mean. I’m talking about the kinds of thoughts. They weren’t thoughts about what’s common.”

“What? What uncommon sins can one hear?” asked Kilba.

“Look. I just want to confess that I envisioned myself hurting—forcing a woman.”

Kilba understood what Cruz was saying and stared at him intently. The Monsignor remained quiet for a while before whispering, “I see.”

“It never…”

“Don’t…say anymore,” said Kilba, gently placing an open hand on the table. “You’ve confessed it. Don’t go any further.” The men sat quietly and Kilba finally said, “We should absolve the sins.”

Cruz nodded and the men made signs of the cross over each other while mumbling the Rite of Absolution. “What penance shall we give?” asked Kilba.

“I think we should fast.”

“How long?”

“Two days,” suggested Cruz. “Starting midnight.”