Volume 50, No.3 - Fall 2004
Editor of this issue: Violeta Kelertas
ISSN 0024-5089
Copyright © 2004 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.


University of Illinois at Chicago

                             Photo by Algimantas Aleksandravičius 

On my computer I have used Algimantas Aleksandravičius's portrait of Ričardas Gavelis as a backdrop. I find the portrait fascinating. There is something in the gleam of Gavelis's eye (one eye; the other is obscured by the reflections in his glasses) that seems to speak to me. I make note of my use of the phrase "to speak," and think of how impossible we find it to express the notion of communication without referring, inevitably it seems, to language. How, after all, does the gleam in a person's eye in a photograph "speak" to me when it is dumb? Whereupon I am once again aggravated by the tricks language has up its sleeve—dumb! The same word that expresses the idea of being speechless or wordless also means to be stupid or inane. Unworthy of serious attention.

Which leads me, curiously, directly to where I wanted to go; mainly the question of whether what Gavelis has to say in his novel Vilniaus pokeris (Vilnius Poker) is worthy of serious attention. Certainly neither the historical, geographical or social circumstances of its writing, nor its subject matter, suit the day-to-day concerns of modern America. I simply cannot foresee a host of imitations springing up on the remainders table at my local bookstore alongside the perennial self-help titles. What relevance, what interest, does a story of life in the last decade of the Soviet empire, set in a place that for centuries has been seen as either a backwater of Europe or a province of Russia, have for us, wrapped up as we are in our day-to-day concerns of getting the laundry done, driving the kids to soccer practice, getting the oil changed?

The question poses some problems. Here, I must confess my personal interest, as a mere thread of circumstances separates me as an American, a member of the most powerful nation on earth, from an inhabitant of this backwater, endlessly bowing and scraping before the greater powers of this earth. But then again, isn't each human life, unique in its station in life, based upon mere circumstance, or in other words, accident?

And if it is merely a question of relevance, I could very well then ask what relevance does Jane Austen, with her finely honed nuances of English manners and morals in the late eighteenth century, have for modern American society that would explain her current popularity? If Darcy's insolence turns out to be simply a matter of misunderstanding and everything turns out just peachy in the end, then certainly Vargalys's reincarnation—or perhaps transformation—into a filthy pigeon with beady eyes doesn't, in all likelihood, fit the optimistic script that prosperous, powerful people write for themselves.1

But there are deeper parallels. Austen's entire oeuvre can be viewed as stories that investigate our humanity through our struggle to balance virtue and passion, selflessness and ego, the reality of our perceptions and the deceptiveness of our desires. Elizabeth Bennett's story is the story of a woman seeking prestige and position—in Austen's words, "a suitable match," in Foucault's, "power"—using the resources she has available. Austen writes in a style that is perfectly suited to the setting of her fiction—gentle in its humor and so remarkably refined in the use of its language that you have to marvel, when reading her work translated into some other language, that the translator has managed to capture any of its flavor at all.

Each of the four narrators in Vilnius Poker is also engaged in these human struggles, although the situation is far more desperate, the stakes higher, the results—much more grim. Gavelis's style, like Austen's, is also perfectly suited to his setting; although, in this case, the result can't be described as pretty; instead it is by turns crass, confrontational, scatological, brutal, bitingly self-ironic, masochistic, desperate, misogynist, pathetic, and fearful. In a word, ugly.

Samuel Johnson points out in The Rambler that "It is not easy for the most artful writer to give us an interest in happiness or misery, which we think ourselves never likely to feel, and with which with we have never yet been made acquainted."2 Perhaps it is a testament to Gavelis's skill that he manages to place an American like me, even if of Lithuanian descent, into this nightmare of his. I, too, find myself reeling in horror, rushing through scenes too horrible to contemplate, stunned, embarrassed, disgusted, at a loss to understand what is really going on. How did he do this to me?

It has been argued that the writings from the former Soviet Baltic republics can be interpreted as postcolonial. Apparently, the leftist sympathies of most Western intellectuals, reluctant to entirely condemn a Marxist experiment no matter how poor the results, as well as a perhaps a natural reluctance by Baits to be labeled (and thereby denigrated once again) as a "colony"—given its baggage of darkness, ignorance, and inferiority—has made this idea difficult to swallow, despite the rather obvious parallels.3 But Gavelis's writing offers more than a mere acquaintance with the concerns of the Other. Reading this novel, we travel deep into the Jungian shadow, into a twilight world where the dragon of Vilnius is always lurking just around the corner, a city where the very streets and houses change overnight and the inhabitants are most certainly not what they seem. Perhaps it is true that culturally Americans are more inclined to stay on the bright side of things; but, as Jung observes, avoiding the dark is a universal human trait, and further, that without venturing into this darkness we can never know our true selves,4 a sentiment the major narrator of this novel, Vytautas Vargalys, echoes in his statement "To be straightforward, you can achieve greatness by joining your heaven with your hell."5

It is our challenge, then, to temporarily assume a new nomadic identity, to temporarily attain the "third eye" of magic realism, in Barbara Cooper's term6, and, keeping the vantage point of your tour guide in mind, to delve into Gavelis's nightmare.

There is a certain aspect of fearfulness, or perhaps wariness, in Gavelis's visible eye. In the reflection of the lens we see his hands folded, defensively it seems, on the table in front of him. It is the look of a man accustomed to traveling in the shadow.

At one point in the novel, Vargalys, secretly searching through the library he works in for evidence that others have stumbled across his discovery of the existence of what he calls Them, a force that he sees turning people into mindless kanukas, thinks he has found a fellow-traveler in an Argentinean writer. He theorizes that only a person living on the edges of mainstream (i.e., Western) culture is capable of such a feat, since the nameless They, who always dictate intellectual fashions, find more work in cities, where it is easier, besides, to hide among the crowds. They don't waste Their energy in out-of-the-way places, chasing down obscure writers whose work never reaches the mainstream.

The point quite obviously applies to Gavelis himself. But exile and its attenuating clarity of vision is an idea as old as human society itself. Literature and myth are filled with such stories, from the biblical voice in the wilderness, to Odysseus's wanderings, to Edward Said's essay on intellectual exile, which he sees as much a metaphysical condition as a physical one.7 And isn't Jung's theory that we cannot truly know ourselves except by traveling into the darkness he calls our unconscious just another way of expressing the same idea?

All of the four narrators in Vilnius Poker are outsiders in more senses than merely being the inhabitants of an out-of-the-way corner of the globe or subjects of the Soviet empire. They are all searching for truth and meaning, each of them in their own unique way, and each of them finding the world an impossible fit. Gavelis does not lack for scathing irony on the absurdities of the Soviet system, but would these people fit in better anywhere else? One is a paranoid megalomaniac drunk, one a sarcastic pedant, one a jazz musician and mathematician (at least in a previous incarnation) and one a woman bent upon making a sacrifice of herself. Vargalys as the successful head of a corporation? Stefa, the third narrator, as his executive secretary? I can't quite see it.

We've all come across people like these. Which of us, passing a drunken beggar on the street, hasn't pondered if what it was that drove them to such a position wasn't simply an oversensitivity, perhaps, to the absurdity of it all? What about that strange guy with the crew cut (surely he must work in the accounting department) whom you either see slinking down the hallway or sitting in the break room with the ladies, injecting ironic remarks?

These narrators would be marginals in whatever environment they found themselves. It's an environment redolent of decay and neglect, but nevertheless strangely alive. Here is Vargalys describing a meeting with Martynas, the second of the four narrators in the novel:

"He stood in my way, apparently emerging from the dusky corridor's walls. Alongside protruded a shabby bluish couch and a crooked little table; on it, an ashtray made of bent tin sheet and full of cigarette butts, billowed dust. Gray tufts of hair and dust drifted on the linoleum floor; through the grimy windows distorted, cheerless rays fell inside. Scattered pieces of boards and little piles of brick dominated the world outside the window. The only thing that drew one's attention was a single gloomy dog: a horrible mutt with a big, square head, a long rat-like body, and a thick tail that was dragging on the ground. He was snuffling at the earth; this he did so diligently, so devotedly, that unawares the thought flashed: he's shamming. He senses that he is being watched, so he pretends he's got nothing to do with anything, that he's idling about without any purpose. He vaguely reminded me of something—not some other dog, but an object or an event, or maybe even a person."8

It's a remarkably active place: a sofa protrudes; construction waste dominates; an ashtray billows. There is a sense of animus pervading everything. The very city of Vilnius becomes a presence possessing a will, a consciousness and, worse, an intent. The dog mentioned in this passage, although neither the reader nor the narrator at this point realizes it, will turn out to be the fourth narrator of the novel, the reincarnation of Vargalys's friend Gediminas.

The awareness throughout the novel of things unseen, of things felt rather than understood, isn't a mere renunciation of Western modes of thought, of rationality or science or even of the linear nature of time; it's rather a progression beyond it. Gavelis makes a clear stand against the Platonic view of the soul as pure intellect, separate from emotion or intuition—at one point Vargalys even describes Plato as the "cantankerous commissar of the kanakas."9 Here is Vargalys describing the moment when he first grasps the existence of Them:

"I looked at him for an endlessly long moment, the kind of moment that escapes from the real world's time. A moment that somewhere else, in some other time, lasts for centuries upon centuries. In those centuries of god-like clarity my intellect surpassed itself; for a short time it became not just intellect. Even the most perfect logic wouldn't reveal the connections that opened up."10

The mistrust of Western rationality expressed here is not by any means an isolated phenomenon. A recognition that technology, that screaming monster child that fills our lives with mechanical beeps, buzzes, and bleeps, is not the answer to all of our problems is reflected in the popular fascination with things such as kabalistic and bioenergy healing, aromatherapy, Wiccans, and paganism. But again, in American society, these things are generally looked at in a more positive light. A visit to "The Witches Voice" on the Internet, a site which claims over 56,000 active accounts, turns up a review of a book entitled A Beginner's Guide to the Recently Deceased advertised as a "humorous yet thought-provoking glimpse into other realms."11 Not hardly what Gavelis has to offer.

In the reflection of Gavelis's lens we can see a windowsill, with a black object on it. The photographer's elbow, as well as a part of his arm and hand, is visible; what looks like a camera strap drapes over a white sheet on the table. Gavelis's folded hands are atop that sheet too. It could be a menu—perhaps they are sitting in a coffeehouse—but it could just as well be some other text. It's a really nice touch to this portrait, since the paradoxes inherent in the significance of texts, language, history and fiction, topics so beloved of postmodern thought, all form part of the fabric underweaving the narratives in Vilnius Poker.

The very existence of the narratives is impossible. Does Vargalys dictate his narrative to the river Neris? Martynas begins his martraštis in a computer, but after he discovers signs that someone has broken his secret code and hacked into it, he begins referring to it as a purely metaphysical object,12 which, given its ending in mid-sentence as Martynas is run down by a truck, certainly seems to be the only plausible explanation. Stefa's narration is stream-of-consciousness. Last, but certainly not least, is the mystery of the very existence of a narration given by a dog.

Over and over again, language is alternately questioned, embraced, denied, examined, rejected, toyed with, and then questioned again. Gavelis creates his own words, such as the already mentioned kanukas (the only common word in Lithuanian that comes even vaguely close would be kanopa—in English, a hoof) and Martynas's martraštis (a play on the name Martynas and the word metraštis, a journal or chronicle). Vargalys suspects that They manipulate language to make sure that it never matches reality (40). The Lithuanian language, because it is so ancient, has retained elements of truth that have disappeared from other languages (52). A library becomes a labyrinth in which a Minotaur waits (63-64). Consider the paradoxes inherent in the episode about the letters Vargalys gathers as they are thrown from the train of cattle cars full of people deported to Siberian work camps. He doesn't deliver them, he says; but they exist here, in this book. Their existence here becomes a testament to history, while Vargalys becomes a god who determines the fate of these letters. But it's also an admission of the ugly way humans will think up ways to justify their behavior ("I can't love them, for the very reason that I am human. True, in addition I could say that they are not humans. Yes, that's the only possibility: those outsiders aren't humans"13). The letters are scattered like snow, but they burn Vargalys's hands; the words written on them scream, shriek and moan. Like the other objects, they are animated, but these have a voice, a voice that is silenced by the two boys opening them and reading them aloud.

Like life itself, the novel is full of miscommunications, of things not said, of important communications cut off, as if intentionally, at the last moment: Vargalys rushing back to the cottage to tell Lolita everything he has learned, only to find her butchered; Martynas resolving to talk to the dog, then crossing the street to ask Sapira a question he thinks will answer everything when he is run over by a truck; the dog rushing to the prison in the vain hope of communicating with Vargalys.

Martynas is obsessed with history; his martraštis is only one expression of this. His overwhelming fear that Lithuania has no history, amusingly expressed in his statement to Vargalys that "We don't have a history, we never were. We just ARE, understand? [...] We're like carrots in a planting bed."14 is perhaps not at all ungrounded, given the tendency for history to be written by the victors.15 Vargalys, like a true postmodernist for whom history, like fiction, is nothing but a human construct,16 understands, beyond this, that all books contain lies. The paradox here, of course, is what Gavelis himself has created in this piece of fiction. The full panoply of Lithuanian culture is represented here: paganism, witchcraft, animism, the Basilisk of Vilnius, dragons, the Iron Wolf, the Grand Dukes Gediminas and Vytautas, the Polish betrayal, Vilnius's Talmudic scholarly tradition. All of the horrors of the twentieth century are recounted: the Russians, the Nazis, the slaughter of the Jews, the deportations, the experience of prison camps, the entire absurd senselessness of the Soviet system. It is itself a history of sorts, but from the losing side.

Now how could I pass up a comment on what is the most striking feature of Gavelis's face—his nose? Kelertas has written about the name Vargalys as a compound word: one from the words varis (copper) and galas (end), an association she delicately describes as "Copper-Ended, referring to a male family trait of the Vargalys clan."17 Vargalys himself uses it in this sense (81). The other association she sees is based on the word vargšas (poor, miserable). Looking at this picture, I am tempted to see yet another compound—with the verb varvėti (to drip) and the appellation snarglys (a vulgar word meaning snot).

It's perhaps not surprising, given the emphasis already mentioned on the senses—and keeping this nose in mind— that scent, that most mysterious and least understood of our senses, should play such a prominent role in this novel. Vargalys's perception of the scent of rotting leaves becomes a motif, a warning, a foreshadowing, a threat.18 Martynas uses it for information, noting how he can smell the love between Vargalys and Lolita from ten steps away. For Stefa, it becomes history: she is fascinated by the smell of the concentration camp that has permeated Vargalys's body. And then there is the dog, for whom scent has become his basic link to the world and the means to understanding his previous life.

Annick Le Guérer's survey of the role of the sense of smell in Western philosophy reveals that "schools of thought that esteem the mind and logic tend to denigrate olfaction"19 and that scent has frequently been disparaged and mistrusted because of its imperfection, its evanescence and probably not least because of its effect on the emotions. If writers like Proust and Bachelard have made odors the guardians of the past, recognizing its unique ability to conjure memories, Gavelis takes it a step further with the dog's observation that smell is the only sense to directly show the past.20

But let us pass on to that other bodily protuberance and the role it has to play here. I am tempted to describe the misogyny in this novel, if I may be excused for describing it that way, as a painfully accurate portrayal of Lithuania's patriarchal culture and the roles it forces women into. We have three basic prototypes here; Stefa, the earth mother; Lolita, the deified icon and sexual goddess; and Giedraitienė, the witch. Regretfully, all of these prototypes are much too familiar, even for an American living in times when feminism is so politically correct that entire careers have been built upon it and a new generation growing up is entirely ambivalent about it.21 But these prototypes each have their own role to play in the poker game, and if the women, like the men in this novel, are exposed one way or another with all of their flaws, it's only natural that they should be so as the second sex in an already powerless and degraded universe.

From a woman's point of view, Stefa's self-portrait is terribly accurate about the ways in which women demean themselves in pursuit of serving others, an inclination whose true proportion of nature and nurture can only be endlessly debated. For many women, the desire to serve, whether it be culturally ingrained or part of a biological urge, is also a denial of self, a denial that without balance inevitably leads to a buried anger and rage, in Stefa's case directed mostly against Lolita.

Stefa may be debased and degraded, but as Earth Mother, she possess a power of her own as the counterpoint, the voice which shatters the delusions that the others have created about themselves. In her account, Vargalys is impotent, Lolita a scheming bitch obsessed with disguising her age, Gediminas the son of a privileged tailor. One by one, she dismisses each of the other characters and undercuts their positions. She gives the impression that, like any good mother, she is shrewd and perceptive: she can see straight through her children and makes no bones about it. Martynas, the weakest of her "children," is the one she is kindest to, as mothers usually are. She also gives the impression of being more in touch with herself, for example, by her willingness to freely recognize the jealousy in herself, unlike Martynas, who keeps vainly pushing his away from his thoughts. Then why don't we, in the end, entirely believe her version of events? Probably, it's the places where her ego wins out, and she sets herself in Lolita's position, the position of the icon—as the Vilnius Kirkė (Circe), or as the subject of all of Ted's paintings.

As a character, Lolita is a blank, perfectly befitting her status as icon. She is woman as a deified object, as a pair of long legs, as a mystery, as the object of men's desires, as evil seductress. Both Martynas's and Vargalys's adoration of her is so filled with their own projections and fears that she never rises above a metaphor for the reader; she seems, as icons inevitably must, to be made of cardboard and plaster. When Vargalys observes that "...losing the connection to me, she would—just like that—dissolve into a pile of ash,"22 we're half inclined to believe him. He himself questions whether she really exists (99). We aren't in the least bit moved by her end. It's a moot question whether she is or is not the Vilnius Kirkė, because she is a mythological being regardless. It remains to Stefa to play the part of Dorothy's dog, who pulls the curtain that reveals the true nature of the Wizard of Oz, by bringing Lolita down to earth, revealing her efforts to maintain her looks, her concerns about her age, her efforts to seduce Vargalys and her agonizing over her failures. That is, of course, only if we can put aside the role Stefa's jealousy plays in her account. But of course we can't. As Gavelis has the dog say, "It's only here that we finally understand that the world is the way we imagine it to be."23

It is the other eye in the portrait that is truly frightening. Barely visible among the reflections of other objects, what we can see of this eye appears maniacal, crazed, insane. If the one eye is wary, it is wary of what this eye sees. The reflections in this lens show some portion of what appears clearly in the other, but in this lens things are warped, twisted, distorted; the edges of the window frame seem to explode. The black object has become an amorphous black hole swallowing all of the objects near it; a streak of sunshine on the window sill has become a slash under Gavelis's eye, and new elements appear: we see what appears to be a street outside the window where Gavelis sits. Or perhaps I have it wrong, and everything is just the opposite: this reflection is the true picture, and the other is the distorted one?

The world that Gavelis presents in his novel is even more complex; instead of two possible worlds, we get four; all of them presenting some overlap of events and characters, and all of them different. One is no more plausible than the other. Each narrator is equally flawed, each equally human (including the "Vox Candida"), each one's world colored and distorted by their own perceptions. There is no "true" version of events; instead, we are presented with the evidence that truth is only a relative quality, in the same way that time in the novel becomes a relative quantity (Vargalys's and Stefa's narrations both take place on a single day—one consumes 244 pages, the other 42.)

Violeta Davoliūtė has observed that "a kind of aggregate narrator emerges, one who is largely identified with Vargalys, while the other characters may be interpreted as extensions of his own consciousness."24 I'm not sure I would agree; each of the narrators has his or her distinctive voice, even at the level of language. Stefa's narration is full of negatives, Vargalys's full of active verbs and vulgarisms, Martynas's voice characterized by his use of acronyms and antonomasia. Martynas is, if anything, an antonym to Vargalys, the Nietzschian megalomania of one being fully matched by the self-denigration of the other, equally Nietzschian. Nietzsche, foreshadowing Foucault, describes the effects of punishment in a way that describes both of them:

...punishment hardens and freezes; it concentrates; it sharpens the sense of alienation; it strengthens resistance. If it should happen that now and again it breaks the will and brings about a miserable prostration and self-abasement, we find the psychological effect even less gratifying...25

If there is an aggregate voice here, it is the voice of a people who have been crushed beneath the wheels of history.

In the complexity and contradictions of its narratives the book offers no easy answers, no tidy resolutions, no upbeat ending, no positive praxis. This is one of the trademarks of postmodernism, and an aspect of it that both critics and the public find difficult to digest. Rimvydas Šilbajoris, writing about Lithuanian literature of this period, has described it as "a literature of exorcism, of exposing, exploring, re-suffering the unspeakable horrors of its recent past under the Soviet regime, cleansing the wounds with the white-hot iron of memory"26 while Kelertas has observed of the Lithuanian reaction to this book that "the reading audience [...] still rejects its insights as too vivid and carrying too many painful memories."27 But as Varsava has observed: "Indeed the hallmark of the great writer is the ability to diagnose the 'timeliness' peculiar to the contemporary epoch in a manner that genuinely communicates its history."28 Certainly Gavelis is not to be blamed if he has so effectively plunged us into this nightmare. Nor can I blame Lithuanian readers if they find the picture too vivid and explicitly detailed to be palatable. I am myself left with a nagging suspicion of my own voyeurism.

This is the dark region of both Soviet and Western culture, where the ideologies of communism and capitalism, rational science and magic, good and evil (or should we call it banality?) collide. We are dragged, kicking and screaming, to view the results of the Yalta conference, where an insignificant nation was handed over to an ideological nightmare. Americans like me, fuming over the neighbor's careless attitude toward where his dog does his business, the stain the dry-cleaner didn't get out, or the jerk who parked his car in your spot, should consider just how much worse it could be before complaining.

There is the final irony that Gavelis himself has become a creator, the power who holds all the cards in this peculiar game of poker. But isn't this what any good writer of fiction, or history, does? He has laid out this scene like a model-builder, spread it all down upon a tabletop, painted it in a harsh and brutal light, and drawn us into it so effectively that at times your stomach turns. But we are also standing next to the model-builder, viewing the scene below and admiring our fellow god's ingenuity. How far does the reflection of one mirror go on in another? Who is it that is standing over the model we live in, admiring the handiwork? Is it They, perhaps?

Cooper, Barbara. (1998). Magic Realism in West African Fiction. London and New York: Routledgc.
Davoliūtė, Violeta. "The City and the Cityscape in Two Lithuanian
Novels: Jurgis Kunčinas's Tula and Ričardas Gavelis' Vilniaus Pokeris." Lituanus, Vol. 44, no. 3: 56-72.
Gavelis, Ričardas. (1989) Viiniaus Pokeris. Vilnius: Vaga.
Hutcheon, Linda (1988), A Poetics of Postmodernism: History, Theory, Fiction. New York: Routledge.
Johnson, Samuel. (1968) Selected Essays from The Rambler, Adventurer, and Idler. Bate, W.J. (ed.), New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
Jung, C.W. (1930) "The Stages of Life". In Collected Works 8: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche, H. Read, M. Fordham, G. Adler (eds.)- Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Kelertas, Violeta. (1998) "Perceptions of the Self and the Other in Lithuanian Postcolonial Fiction," World Literature Today, Vol. 72, no. 2 (Spring): 253-261.
Le Guérer, Annick. (1988) Scent: The Mysterious and Essential Powers of Smell. Translated by Richard Miller (1992). New York: Turtle Bay Books.
Nietzsche, Friedrich. (1887) On the Genealogy of Morals. Translated by W.A. Kaufmann, 1967. New York; Vintage Books.
Račevskis, Karlis (forthcoming 2004) "Towards a Postcolonial Perspective on the Baltic States," in Baltic Postcolonialism, Kelertas, V. (ed.). The Hague: Rodopi.
Said, Edward. (2000) The Edward Said Reader. Vintage Books: New York.
Šilbajoris, Rimvydas. (1994) "World Literature In Review: Lithuanian" World Literature Today, Vol. 68, no. 4 (Autumn): 860.
Varsava, Jerry. (1990) Contingent Meanings, Postmodern Fiction, Mimesis and the Reader. Tallahassee: The Florida State , University Press.


1. Perhaps we should find it revealing of our culture and times that many of the recent Austen film versions tend to stress the comedic aspects of her work.
2. No. 60, Saturday, 13 October 1750.
3. See Kelertas, Violeta: 'Perceptions of the self and the other in Lithuanian postcolonial fiction' in World Literature Today, for a fuller discussion of postcolonialism in Gavelis's writings.
4. C.W. Jung. "The Stages of Life" (1930). In Collected Works 8: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche, 752.
5. Gavelis, 1989, 39. ,,Išties, didis tegali tapti, sujungęs savo dangų su savo pragaru." All of the following citations are from this edition. The translations are mine.
6. Cooper, 1989,14.
7. Said, 2000, 373.
8. avelis, 30. „Jis pastojo man kelią, rodės, išniręs iš dulksvos koridoriaus dienos. Greta kėpsojo melsgana nušiurusi sofa, sukrypęs stalelis, ant jo dulkėjo pilna nuorūkų iŠ skardos išlankstyta peleninė. Ant linoleumo grindų pilkavo dulkių ir plaukų tumulai, pro apskretusi stiklą į vidų krito niūkūs kreivi spinduliai. Pasaulyje už lango viešpatavo išsvaidyti lentgaliai ir plytų krūvelės. Dėmesį traukė tik vienišas nusmurgęs šuo, siaubingas mišrūnas: didele kampuota galva, ilgu žiurkės kūnu, drūta, žeme besivelkančia uodega. Jis šniukštinėjo žemę, tą darė taip stropiai, taip atsidėjusiai, kad nejučia dingojosi: jis apsimeta. Jautė, kad į jį žiūriu, tad vaidino esąs čia niekuo dėtas, slampinėjąs be jokio tikslo. Kažką miglotai man priminė—ne kitą šunį, o daiktą ar įvykt ar net žmogų."
9. Gavelis, 80. „atšiaurus kanukų komisaras."
10. Ibid., 28. „Žiurėjau į jį be galo ilgą akimirksnį, tokį akimirksnį, kuris išsprūsta iš realaus pasaulio laiko. O kitur, kitokiam laike, tęsiasi šimtmečių šimtmečius. Per tuos dieviško aiškumo šimtmečius mano protas pranoko pats save, trumpam virto ne vien protu. Net tobuliausia logika neatskleidžia tokių ryšių, kokie man atsivėrė."
11. The Witches Voice. Witchvox 'New Book Release of the Week...' [Online] The Witches' Voice, Inc. Web Site. URL: [February 29, 2004].
12. Gavelis, 319.
13. Gavelis, 101, „Negaliu jų mylėt, kaip tik todėl, kad esu žmogus. Tiesa, dar galiu tarti, kad jie nėra žmonės. Taip, tai vienintelė galimybė: tie atėjūnai nėra žmonės."
14. Gavelis, 31. „Mes neturim praeities, mūsų niekad nebuvo. Mes tiktai ESAM, suprantat? [...] Mes kaip morkos lysvėj."
15. Lithuanian-American Kestutis Nakas's play When Lithuania Ruled the World is based on his realization that the Lithuanian history he heard at home did not exist in American history textbooks. No one of Lithuanian descent growing up in America in the sixties could have failed to notice this.
16. Hutcheon, 1988.
17. Kelertas, 1998, 256.
18. It's interesting to note that olfactory hallucinations are a well-known manifestation of epileptic seizures and that people suffering from this disorder report that "it is usually an unpleasant odor that they perceive, either organic, such as decay, or chemical such as petroleum."
19. LeGuérer, 1998,197.
20. Gavelis, 376.
21. See Caitlin Flanagan's "How Serfdom Saved the Women's Movement: Dispatches from the Nanny Wars" in March, 2004 issue of The Atlantic for a contemporary account of the contradictions involved in modern feminism.
22. Gavelis, 100, „...praradus ryšį su manim, ji bemat pabirtų pelenų krūvele."
23. Gavelis, 381, „Tik čia mes galutinai suvokiame, kad pasaulis yra toks, kokį jį įsivaizduoji."
24. Davoliūtė, 1998, 60.
25. Nietzsche, 1987, 214.
26. Šilbajoris, 1994, 860.
27. Kelertas, 1998, 253.
28. Varsava, 1990, 18.