Taking Back Europe in Valdas Papievis’s Novels


  • Aušra Jurgutienė Lietuvių literatūros ir tautosakos institutas




globalization, migration novel, intercultural dialogue, Lithuanian and French cultural relations, existentialism, European identity, Valdas Papievis


The novels of contemporary Lithuanian writer Valdas Papievis Eiti (To Go) and Odilė, arba oro uostų vienatvė (Odile, or the Solitude of Airports) – are two of the most successful variants of Lithuanian literature elicited by globalisation and the end of the Cold War. Not only because after the fall of the Iron Curtain that divided the West and the East and the declaration of Lithuania’s independence the author now lives and writes in Paris, but also due to the fact that his novels written in Lithuanian and describing contemporary Paris and Provence create topical and artistically mature narratives about the newest transformations of the European identity into an intermediate state.

The article discusses the author’s uniquely romanticized tradition of existen tialism and emphasises the moments of Lithuanian and French communi ca tion that establish the three main motifs of an individual’s migration: home / to go / solitude, refining their existential and aesthetic meanings. The novels remind the reader that the forgotten natural and cosmic dimension of a human life is of no less importance than the social, historical and national environment determining it. The novels erase the ancient boundaries between the Eastern and Western European stereotypes; therefore, their French and Lithuanian origins are not noticeably in conflict, rather they merge into a common European memory, marked by sadness and disquietude.


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