Liquid Ink

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


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Readers ask: Why don’t your stories have endings?

This question came a while ago from someone who has read almost every available work of fiction I’ve ever written. While my novel, Finding the Moon in Sugar, saw very few reviews, several reviewers commented that the book had no ending. Reviewers of The Fugue have not made similar comments…not that I remember. But the reader asking the question felt the final paragraph of The Fugue is even less an ending than the final bit in Finding the Moon.

I find this really fascinating. It goes completely contrary to my process and point of view. I don’t feel I can really start writing something until I see how it ends. I’ve said in many interviews that The Fugue started out as a vignette of a man repairing a window. I didn’t know I had a novel until I imagined the very final scene. The horror and displacement convinced me I had a novel.

All this aside, my endings don’t offer resolution. I find resolution to be among the greatest contrivances in literature. I don’t think of narratives or time in linear terms, but if we do think this way, a cliché applies: all roads lead to the same destination, and that destination is a mystery. There’s a difference between writing the last word of a text—always an energizing moment—and resolving the narrative’s problem. A good ending is one that leaves the reader feeling obliterated or provoked. It is not one that leaves the reader with the delusion that now s/he “understands something” or, worse, “understands everything.”

There’s no way to answer this question in detail without discussing the actual endings. As a person fascinated with love and death, I write about not knowing. One of my most important themes, I think, is ignorance, especially the kind of ignorance we can’t perceive. So I don’t try to answer any questions in my fiction. My fiction is a way for me to express my ignorance, and my endings work to that end.

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Two Chicagoland readings, back to back

The good people at the Morton College Library have agreed to host two readings next week. I’m very happy to present my novel at the library, which has benefited my writing tremendously. Obviously, The Fugue is set in Cicero; these are the only readings I have planned in my hometown, so they should be special.

During these readings, one in the late morning, January 25th, the other in the early evening, January 26th, I’ll have our students in mind, and I’ll talk about writing as a lifelong craft and profession. However, they are free and open to the public!

The Morton College Library is on Morton College campus, almost right in the middle. Head through the courtyard/amphitheater, enter through the glass doors and take a left in the vestibule.

3801 S Central Avenue, Cicero, Illinois

The following hyperlinks will take you to Facebook event pages where you might RSVP. Of course, you don’t have to. Just come, and bring a friend!

Session One—January 25th, 11:00 AM Morton College Library Cybercafe

Session Two—January 26th, 7:00 PM Morton College Library Cybercafe

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Photo by Morton College Library.


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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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How I landed my book deal (in only 15 years)

I’m happy to announce that the pre-launch for my upcoming novel, The Fugue, is underway. You can find pre-order information here at the CCLaP website. I also encourage people to check out what kind words Jason Pettus, CCLaP’s owner, left on the novel’s Goodreads page. “This is the literary novel for those who love literary novels…”

The Fugue started out back in 2000 when I was a student in New York. One night I wrote a vignette titled “Juri’s Window”. Juri was a painter and sculptor living in Amsterdam, perhaps in the mid 90’s, where he collected unemployment benefits and sculpted from trash. The vignette was simple: a description of a window Juri put together out of glass bottles and the remains of a discarded fence. I looked at it as a writing exercise.

But this character pestered me, kept appearing in my work. Soon the name had changed to Yuri, and he had a family, a girlfriend. Later, I moved him from Amsterdam to my hometown of Cicero, and his family gained a complex history of flight and displacement. Eventually he’d been accused of arson and murder. I realized I had a novel.

I messed around with various drafts for years. But in the summer of 2006, at that time working in Bloomington, Indiana, I felt the book, clocking in at about 135,000 words, was finished, and I started trying to sell it, going about it in the traditional way, sending cold queries to strangers.

Mind you, obsessed with The Fugue, I had not published a single piece of short fiction at that point. I don’t know how many rejection letters I collected—for a while I had been assembling them in a scrapbook, but in time I had no place to put them, and far from motivating me, they were just trash mail, most of them the usual form rejections. What kept me writing queries were the nibbles. This Midtown agent asked for the first 50 pages; that Chelsea editor asked for the manuscript. Now another agent wanted the whole thing. After reading, she told me her colleague might be a better fit and forwarded the text along.

The people who read it in whole or part all said about the same thing: “You don’t have a platform, and this book’s too difficult to market.” I took to heart that they didn’t say, “Your writing is shit.” It left me enough to maintain the feeling that I could be a writer. But I hung up The Fugue as a failure and set it under the bed, so to speak.

In the summer of 2007, I started writing Finding the Moon in Sugar, a project that occupied the years leading up to my first child’s birth in 2009. And then I took on smaller writing assignments, including a stint with The Good Men Project.

Part of the reason I self-published Finding the Moon in Sugar was to get my name out there. I wanted to have something gripping but fun to read from during events, and I thought the best way to learn how to market a book—a work of literary fiction, to the point—was to get out there and try to do it.

Last autumn, 2014, I was reading from Finding the Moon at RUI, a reading series here in Chicago. I hoped, at best, to sell a couple of copies, maybe learn about some new writers. At the bar, Sheffield’s, I ended up sitting next to a man, Jason, who had a lot to say about selling books. Turned out he had a publishing house. After my reading—I read the scene when Andy hears opera music for the first time—Jason asked me if I had any short stories. Sure, I said. I have plenty. But when I checked out his website, I figured, what the hell. Maybe I’ll tell him about The Fugue.

This holiday season, the book that started out as a vignette will hit the shelves and e-readers. In anticipation, have a look at the cover. It’s gorgeous:

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