Lithuanian literary community received a great piece of news from the United Kingdom today. The novel In the Shadow of Wolves written by the Lithuanian writer Alvydas Šlepikas was announced a Book of the Month by the Times newspaper in the UK.
The novel Mano vardas – Marytė (In the Shadow of Wolves) became the most read novel of 2012 in Lithuania and has gone through six reprints. The novel is inspired by the true stories of two women who were part of a group of displaced people during the Second World War known as “wolf children”.
This was the name given to German children, frequently orphans, who at the end of the war came across the Nemunas River from East Prussia in order to survive and to work in Lithuania. Born in East Prussia (still then part of Germany), they were driven by starvation and the terrors wrought by the Soviet Army to seek refuge in a foreign land – Lithuania.
“I am delighted with this news. Lithuanian literature is not well known in the United Kingdom. The Brits are keener of reading their own authors’ books rather than translations. In addition, the publishing house which published my novel is actually a very good one. I’ve received a lot of support from the publishing house staff, they told me a lot of nice words I due course,” A. Šlepikas said in an interview to the Lithuanian public broadcaster the LRT RADIO on July 1.
The novel’s main character, Renatė, who calls herself Marytė, symbolizes how life can overcome the challenges of fate. The story of Marytė’s family exposes the tragic predicament of a large number of refugees in East Prussia and Lithuania in the first years after the war. The novel is compelling in its strong narrative and cinematic nature.
Many translations, many to come
In the Shadow of Wolves is one of the most translated Lithuanian novels. It was translated into English, German, Polish, Latvian, Estonian, Ukrainian, and the Dutch. In addition, the novel is being translated into French and Czech languages.