The winning novel by Yaroslav Melnyk is a dystopia which explores the issue of freedom. The novelist writes about the freedom to see - to escape the world of the blind - but also to escape the world of those who can see, and who rule the blind. These are themes found in literature around the world, and through its protagonist’s journey, this novel very effectively explores what freedom means and what is its price.
While telling the story, like a fairy-tale for adults, of six characters, who had surrendered with pleasure to one of the biggest imaginable chaos of the soul, Jaroslav Melnik with great authority rises the question of taboos that are restricting human freedom.
His parents get to know each other in GULAG, he is the son of Stalin. He speaks about everything with tenderness and in his philosophic books he ponders on, showing a good school of Dostoevsky, relations between evil and freedom.
The short story ‘The Immortality’ (…) begins with a realistic tragedy: the main character leaves the crematorium devastated by his young wife’s early death. However, then back home he finds her well and alive. At this point a surreal journey starts that takes us through a different layers of the reality and the dream. As always in the writings of this author, the fantasy is in perfect harmony with the elements of the everyday.
EUROPE BOOK PRIZE
(THE ROAD TO PARADISE)
"These six stories that make a complete novel - even though they are shocking because of their thematic - do not rise any opposition of the readers; these lost characters are forced to stay away from the norms only by their life circumstances and it is the only way of escaping suffocating existence. The emotional style, a short and accurate phrase and immensely subtle psychological analysis permits the author to reach the level of philosophical contemplation on the borders of human freedom and on the limits imposed by the Christian morality"
Articles about Melnik’s prose
RELATING DAILY ROUTINE TO ETERNITY The action in Melnikas’ literary works develops in unidentified places. There are no topical issues from our everyday life, and his literature tells us about peculiarities of man’s existence that are not bound by place and time. Hence, it has a universal, timeless dimension. His best works retain the mysteriousness of the subtext. In the end, epiphany, as well as affecting suggestion, which cannot be explained, thwarts the reader.
CONSTRUCTIVE ILLOGICALITY OR POSTMODERN ALLEGORIES Critics call Melnyk’s novellas works of science fiction, metaphysical fiction, or philosophical stories, and refer to his novels as anti-utopian. In truth, however, Melnyk’s genre is best described as postmodern allegory. For Melnyk, stories, characters, and events are not as important in themselves as they are as metaphors: x— the one you and I inhabit.”
LOVE FOR HUMAN: YAROSLAV MELNYK’S “MASHA, OR THE FOURTH REICH” “Masha, or the Fourth Reich” – novel which overwhelms and makes one become More sensitive. Openly written and at the same time sharp story will leave thousands of thoughts in one’s head and will raise the consciousness in every reader.
VISION AS A SYMBOL (Remote space, BBC Book of the Year 2013) “Cosmopolitanism” as a specific concept can also be adapted to Melnikas’ works: to the books of stories Rojalio kambarys and Pasaulio pabaiga, as well as to the novel Tolima erdvė (all were published by the Lithuanian Writers’ Union). In none of them will we find a specifically identified location, or a defined localisation; the action takes place “somewhere”, in predictable spaces. However, Melnikas can be identified in a simpler way too: I would call him a Neo-Symbolist of Lithuanian literature, who has created the most unexpected and ambiguous works with the help of symbols and allegories.”