Liquid Ink

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


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Unburdened from sin or connected to God

Reviews of The Fugue have, until this point, compared the book to the likes of Fyodor Dostoevsky, Victor Hugo, Virginia Woolf, Boris Pasternak, Betty Smith, Nelson Algren, Richard Powers, Flannery O’Connor and others.

Commentators have noted the book’s fugue-like structure, its homage to classical music and opera, and its use of various techniques of visual art, among them simultaneity. The latest review, from Amy Strauss Friedman, writing for the Yellow Chair Review notes the novel’s similarity to pointillism.

Aras has given us a masterful web of narrative that feels much like pointillism in painting, in which an artist uses individual dots to create a larger, intricate image.

She goes on to write:

The Fugue is an epic work that will ensnare you from the first chapter and won’t let you go even after you’ve finished it. It is a composition that all should hear.

I guess the only way to see if all these people are just talking craziness is to read the book for yourself. As your library to order it, get it at your favorite bookstore or buy it here.

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Two new articles today

I’m excited that two new articles about The Fugue appeared today, one of them in time for Lent.

The first is from Newcity, the Chicago alternative press. Amy Danzer calls The Fugue a must read.

Aras’ novel examines the persistent haunting of traumatic pasts, the burden of bearing dark secrets, the lightness that comes with confession, the profound desire to feel understood, and the varying degrees to which people are responsible to one another.

The second is Leland Cheuk’s interview of me. You can read it in Entropy. I talk to Cheuk about Catholic guilt, the state of publishing, trauma and how to remain accessible while writing about topics like visual art and classical music.

I have no training in visual art and only a year of piano. I’m neither a composer nor a sculptor—for that matter, neither am I a priest or a physician, two important players in the narrative—but I really wish I could be everyone at once and learn everything they know. Writing a novel is, for me, a vicarious experience. Life forces us to pick a limited number of roles. But a novel is an antidote to life’s pigeonholing.

Please check out these publications and share the articles.

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The world’s greatest living painter: Šarūnas Sauka

Art should disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed.” -Banksy

I’m thinking of begging for money, opening up a Go Fund Me page or something to be able to make it to Vilnius before March 6th when the following exhibit will end. Here are a few of the milder images:

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Image from Nacionalinė Dailės Galerija

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Image from delfi.lt

I first encountered the paintings and visual art of Šarūnas Sauka while wandering the streets of Vilnius in 2006. I walked past a small gallery with a modest glass door and was struck by a portrait of a woman that seemed to recall the work of Ivan Albright, another of my favorites. When I went inside, I was completely transfixed. The gallery contained only a few paintings by Sauka, but each one slaughtered me. It was the kind of painting I had waited my whole life to discover.

If you’ve never seen his art before, be warned: he’s not Monet. I feel his work is more intense than Egon Schiele’s or even Joel Peter Witkin’s. This video presentation of the exhibit will give you more than a solid introduction. That it’s set to the music of Massive Attack only confirms all the feelings of synchronicity I sense whenever I engage the art of Sauka.

If anyone would like to donate a few dollars to send me out to Vilnius before March so that I might write a long essay about why his work should be required in all the world’s high schools, please PayPal me.