REVIEWS OF PETER'S EMPRESS
"...This novel about Catherine I combines a solid chunk of history with a great deal of literary finesse. [...] Because of Sabaliauskaite's impressive storytelling power, she can safely join the ranks of Umberto Eco and Hillary Mantel..."Johanna Spaey, Knack Focus, Belgium
"...A dazzling historical novel. [...] Sabaliauskaitė truly animates the characters of Martha, Peter and Menshikov with life." Michel Krielaars, NRC, The Netherlands
"... This historical novel is definitely topical. A compelling novel which makes you wait for the second part. " Walter Smits, Kunst Tijdschrift Vlaanderen, Belgium
"... Sabaliauskaitė in Peter's Empress achieves a very rare symbiosis of historical accuracy, psychological suggestion, true depiction of the historical character and a gripping storytelling - this is the true flavour and aroma of Literature. [...] She creates a network of events and introspection which comes alive in a human shape." Aleksandra Murre, Sirp, Estonia
"... The education and talent of the art historian author once again dazzle in the novel [...] Peter's Empress is reminiscent of an 18th century aristocrat's palace - dazzlingly gorgeous and uncomfortable, vividly detailed and smelly, fascinating and terryfing at the same time. One where we hold our noses, but queue in lines to get into." Barbala Simsone, Diena.lv, Latvia
REVIEWS OF "SILVA RERUM IV"
"...2008 published Silva Rerum and its further sequels are already considered to be the most successful and memorable book of the decade if not of the century. […] Sabaliauskaitė without a competition is the queen of her realm. Our historical novel is in very safe and talented hands. She is the only one who tells our own history so convincingly and we grab it as the blind people the probbing cane, we devour it in huge bites and drink it in gulps of a thirsty traveller. And the aching epoch emerges from the fogs and comes into a shape..." Živilė Nedzinskaitė, Naujasis židinys. Knygų aidai
"...If the contemporary Lithuanian prose would be a game of chess, Kristina Sabaliauskaitė would be its black queen. She does not has to jump over the heads of others because she holds the greatest power of prose. [...] For the fourth time she proves that she is the absolute sovereign of her stories. Under the roof of one sentence she places images, history, dialogues, thoughts, descriptions and emotions, and they follow each other as the perfectly placed musical notes of an experienced composer. […] She, like a Basilisk from the undergrounds of Vilnius knows how to mesmerise, but she never kills – instead she totally engulfs the reader into the whirlpool of her world." Viktorija Saraminaitė, 15min.lt Culture.
"…I am constantly being asked, which part of Silva Rerum is a favourite of mine. I could never answer this question – all these novels are quite different as different are the periods they depict. But after reading the final, fourth part, I dare say: this one..." Jūratė Čerškutė, Culture, lrt.lt
REWIEWS OF THE POLISH EDITION OF "SILVA RERUM":
"...I must confess I have not read such alluring prose in a long time, it is impossible to tear oneself off this book. [...] This is a talent on a par with Jan Potocki, though 'Silva Rerum' is much more contemporary than the 'Manuscript found in Saragossa'. It is for a reason she is compared to Marquez - due to the sensuality and magical atmosphere, and to Umberto Eco - due to erudition and the play with conventions. However, besides these comparisons Kristina Sabaliauskaitė is a truly original phenomenon, a one-of-a kind'. Barbara Lekarczyk-Cisek, Kulturaonline.pl
"...A truly monumental text was born. [...] Kristina Sabaliauskaitė through several persons and the fate of the minor gentry family succeeds to retell the history of the Borderland and the Europe. [...] Baroquely ornate yet at the same time realistic narration, lightness and elegance of a phrase, the complete lack of a dialogue, multitude of historic details, harmoniously joined fiction and historic reality – these features define her writing style. Due to this style the book is devoured witholding the breath and its reading gives you the exclusive pleasure typical only to the literature of the highest hallmark" Tomasz Orwid, DobreKsiążki.pl
"...A book,extraordinary in many ways. If someone would ask me what is it about, what so serious and important happens in it that has touched me so much, I would reply, that it is, simply, a book about the life [...]. The essence of this book is also a poetry. A poetry of life, which strikes you at different stages of life and is experienced by every sensitive human. I cannot compare this book to any Polish book. The language of this book is extraordinary". Joanna Szwedowska, Radio 2 literary critic.
"...Surprisingly, it seems that Lithuanian authors can offer books on the level of the best foreign fiction that appears in our market" and "Silva rerum" is undoubtedly one of them". Boguslaw Karpowicz, lubimyczytac.pl
"...This is a wonderful book: besides being the literature of the very highest quality, very wise and wonderfully written, it is also a page-turner. Izabela Cywińska, theatre and cinema director.
"...A true literary sensation originating from Lithuania. Henryk Sienkiewicz, were he alive today, would probably write like Kristina Sabaliauskaitė. [...] After reading this book, the Polish reader is left with one question: why our authors on the shores of Vistula can't write like this?" Mariusz Cieślik, Wprost.
"...Such novels as "Silva Rerum" bring back the faith in literature and its capabilities consequently exploring the History to tell a fate of a generation and a family. [...] This book comprises magic, transcendence and the realism of the detail. It is a panorama of the experiences and feelings, realised through the looking glass of the History. [...] "Silva Rerum" narrates discreetly, yet enchantingly. It will arouse your imagination and will give you an aesthetic pleasure through the magnificent language of, in fact, a very complex novel." Jarosław Czechowicz, krytycznymokiem.blogspot.co.uk
"...Silva Rerum" is an exceptional, in many ways innovative prose that lives up to the best examples of Scandinavian sagas." Janusz R. Kowalczyk, Culture.pl
"...The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth is almost absent from the contemporary Polish fiction. This gap – and in the finest style – now fills Lithuanian Kristina Sabaliauskaitė. [...] Her success is understandable, as her novel delivers everything we expect from a solid historical saga: attention to the detail, a profound understanding of the customs and the epoch, and, most importantly – live, multidimensional characters that you become fans of. [...] Our common history longed for such a novel – written without taking sides and presenting our common heritage. Our fiction writers from time to time attempt the genre of a historical novel, but few of them reach the efect of the incomparable Hungarian Györgyo Spiró, or, in fact, Sabaliauskaitė". Krzysztof Cieślik, Rzeczpospolita.pl
"... A splendidly written, marquesian novel which takes place in seventeenth century Lithuania and eventually reminds us that the history of Central Europe is our shared narrative." OLGA TOKARCZUK
"...It is now obvious that the author is one of the leaders, perhaps even one of the chief strategists of contemporary Lithuanian prose. [...] I have experienced a genuine pleasure while reading Silva Rerum III". Giedrė Kazlauskaitė, Šiaurės Atėnai
"... It is unlikely, that Fortune would intend to turn away from Kristina Sabaliauskaite. [...] After reading the novel I feel like the punished Tantalus: I long to drink, but the water of the source recedes further. A thirst unsatisfied." - Živilė Nedzinskaitė on Silva rerum III, Knygų aidai.
"...„...This is probably the first book about contemporary, nowaday Lithuania, which is seen by the eyes of many different people. This is Lithuania as we know it in well told stories of desires, longings, dissatisfactions, hurtfulness, hopes and dissillusions. You need an exceptional creative sensitivity to see the world not only from your own point of view – a point of view of a young, talented and recognised woman, - but also from a point of view of an old Jew, or of a cult writer and ladies man, who hides his traumas, his cognitive dissonance under the strategy of Épater la bourgeoisie! The multi-faceted structure of the narrative and several layers of identities between which the author easily migrates and get under the skin is the exceptional strenght of this book…” Prof. Leonidas Donskis MEP, www.delfi.lt
"...You become suspicious, that the basis of author’s aesthetics is literature as the power, the pleasure and the deceit. Though “snobbery” is a deceitful concept which has both positive and negative meaning, in the book ["Danielius Dalba&Other Stories"] there is still some anger or even hatred towards the provinciality which reader can interpret almost as a misanthropy. [...] An aversion (even if it is not literally mentioned) towards officious establishment structures can also be felt and thus counter-reaction also exists – innocent suspicion from the particles of these structures. And not because of certain glamour, though you obviously disagree with its rules because they feed antifeminist culture which hurts self-respect of many women, including myself..." Giedrė Kazlauskaitė, Šiaurės Atėnai.
„...In the verso of the title page of "Danielius Dalba &Other Stories" there are two disclaimers. One – if someone would recognise himself, the other – if someone (especially some Language Preservation Institution) would recognise the living language (though there is no such thing as ‘living language’, the language is just human). If not the reminder that the use of informal speech is a stylistic mean, I would have left without looking back – to Jewish, Polish, Lithuanian Vilnius, London, Paris, to nostalgia, to irony, to déjà vu between the lines [...] So is it style or not? The third book from Kristina Sabaliauskaitė and the writer wins 3:0." Loreta Vaicekauskienė, Naujasis Židinys-Aidai
"...The new book is outstanding conceptually, and Sabaliauskaitė delves into problems of the contemporary world: the identity (both human and urban), the burden of fame, the nostalgia, the longing, the alienation. [...] Kristina Sabaliauskaite is clearly a fan of Woody Allen-esque storytelling, and she convincingly, vividly builds the myth of Vilnius. And you cannot escape the Death in Vilnius. Vilnius, which is known to the world as the death scene of a famous french actress, as the execution place of thousands of Jews, as the place where such a talent as Daniel Crowbar has no chance to be born. The author masterfully opens our wounds, pours some salt on them and hopes them to heal." Kristina Tamelytė, Pasvaiste.lt
"Daniel Crowbar & other stories": "... I must confess, I opened this book with anxiety. I expected interesting storytelling and did not want dissapointment. I was not dissapointed. The stories are captivating, unexpected, subjects - previously unexploited and varied. [...] In fact, all these short stories have the potential to be developed into separate novels. For those who look for a book about a city and a contemporary Lithuanian, for those who long for downright ironic narrative - this book is a great gift." Marius Burokas, 370.diena.lt
On "Daniel Crowbar & other stories": "...These short stories play the game with the reader. Behind the storytelling there is the intertextual level - author gives hints to certain events, recognisable characters and thus the story evolves as something altogether different. One is left guessing whether these recognitions are true, and this is part of the game. Of course, the tragic Vilnius story of Bertrand Cantat and Marie Trintignant is easily recognisable as well as the portraits of Jurga Ivanauskaite, Ričardas Gavelis and several other writers in the last novella. Her stories flow easily and she is not keen on artificial stylistic adornments nor wants to prove that the literature of quality has to be hard to read. No, Sabaliauskaitė tells her stories gracefully and engagingly, with a great dose of irony. And this, we must admit, is not a common case in Lithuanian literature. A very successful step into different genre." Audrius Ožalas, 15min.lt
"...In our contemporary literature Kristina Sabaliauskaitė is her own sole competition. [...] Not that often you read your compatriot author without making any patronising or patriotic concessions and judge it not as "Lithuanian literature", but jus as literature in general... " Emilija Visockaitė on Silva Rerum II, "Šiaurės Atėnai"
"...Not every reader will be able to reach the very depth of the forest, to explore and decode the dense jungle of quotations, allusions and references, but here the novel asks for comparison with the books of Umberto Eco that deliver a special pleasure to those that grasp the multiple secret currents of the text but can also be appreciated as captivating novels of the “popular genre” written in beautiful language." Barbala Simsone, Diena.lv
"...Nowadays, it seems, there are too many “interesting books”, “the must-reads”, “contemporary classics” and “outstanding examples of contemporary novel”, but in fact those really good books are few and far between. There not much books you can wholeheartedly recommend and Silva Rerum by Kristina Sabaliauskaitė is one of them. […] What strikes the most is the inner harmony of the novel. I can not quite grasp what makes it – the excellent style, the intuitively mastered art of storytelling or the bright and harmonious emotional and intellectual inner world of the author." Ieva Melgalve, Satori.lv
“…The novel could be compared with a good jazz or classical music: listening for the second time or analysing the musical score it reveals to you a lot of hidden things that you haven’t noticed at the first glance, and you have to absolutely enchanted to listen to it for the second time, irrelevant of whether you are a connoisseur or not. Roland Barthes this way wrote in the Eighties. I think, this could also be said about Kristina Sabaliauskaite’s “Silva Rerum II”, Vidas Dusevičius
“…It is obvious, that this is not the case of “the second book syndrome”, and the second “Silva” in no way concedes to the first. […] One of the most important criteria to recognise a good book is the feeling, that the author is the master of the created world, that he or she knows everything about the characters and their lives though not necessarily reveals everything to us […]. This impression of the author as the trustworthy guide is even stronger in “Silva Rerum II” . Rasa Drazdauskienė, Bernardinai.lt***
"... In Latvian literature we still do not have (and probably never had) a book that would reveal so much about the local history, would be written in such marvelous, sophisticated language, would have such readability and at the same time would impel you into autoreflection, into thoughts about your place in life, about altruism […] The manner of writing begs comparison with the world class masters like Salman Rushdie or Gabriel García Márquez and their multilayered narratives.” Kristine Sadovska, Diena.lv
"...Kristina Sabaliauskaitė debuting with her "Silva rerum" has become an outstanding literary event. Though some critics acuse her of flirting with the popular literature, the novel has caused a furor among the readers.." Giedre Kazlauskaite, goethe.de
"...If asking me about the vitality of the literature, you mean the "it" book - for me it was Kristina Sabaliauskaitė, a true literary Mozart..." Giedrė Kazlauskaitė, "Metai", 2010 No. 4
"...Kristina Sabaliauskaitė has found a perfect niche - an intellectual and sophisticated writer, devoid of banalities but capable of showing the depths of the contemporary human ambivalence and tensions, its traumas, moral and political dilemmas, was still a rarity in our literature. Intelligent faces of the people from the past instead of the deformed physiognomies, characters resonating with our contemporary sensitivity – the history in the novel is actualised and not presented like some souvenir.
"...The almighty narrator, letting nobody to break out of the control, chooses an interesting way of self-amusement: historical details in the novel are the means to cast an ironical glance to the historical consciousness, signified by these details. I want to return to the religious consciousness as the most evident component. It is easy to notice, that all elements of this religious-existential consciousness – the self-consciousness of memento mori, the gestures of self-humility and self-abasement in combination with limitless pride, the radical tension between human sins and the desire for salvation – in the novel are inlayed into ironical structures that debase the values..." Brigita Speičytė, "Literatūra ir menas", 2009 11 27
"...Yes, it is capturing, engulfing, feeding on hundreds of sources, reminiscent of the ornate Baroque architecture. Yes, it is in a very good taste and style. Pungent, rich, dense. Full of aromas - a bouquet. Like a cognac, well matured in oak barrels. [...] This move, this novel - one of the best departures not just in our literature, but also a remarkable shift on the consciousness level." Erika Drungytė, "Nemunas", 2009 09 07
"...If they only knew about this book, Dan Brown and John Irwing would be terribly jealous. And Adam Mickiewicz would applaud. The book of the year - no, rather of the decade!" Emilija Visockaitė, Pravda.lt
"...This novel explores the main personal human experience dramas rethinking them in Cartesian dualism. The characters choose between the body and the soul, the word and the thing, the human and the animal, the life and the death. The personal attitudes of the characters reveal universal things..." Nerijus Brazauskas, "Metai", 2009 No. 4.
"... In this book - some of the best erotic scenes ever written in Lithuanian..." Justinas Žilinskas, Skaityta.lt, 2009 03 21
"...It is difficult to compare this novel to anything in Lithuanian literature - it seems unique and quite unlike others. The comparison with Marguerite Yourcenar's L'Oeuvre au noir is tempting, but this is the text of a different kind [...]. The time flows with the sentences like the expressive periods of speech, they violently engulf the reader, but still retain their logical segments and sometimes are illuminated with a subtle humour, which not only perfectly befits the structure of the story and the portraits of the characters, but also tranforms a seemingly banal situation into a tragicomical one. And to know, how to laugh and cry at the same time - it is already an achievement..." "A never ending forest of things", Renata Šerelytė, "Šiaurės Atėnai", 2009 03 20
"... It is the event in our literature... slightly reminiscent of Umberto Eco, it reveals the glimpse of multiple layers of spiritual history..." "Like a Baroque tapestry..." Astrida Petraitytė, "Literatūra ir menas", 2009 03 06
"...The novel in its construction reminds the Dutch peep-show box, described by the author: “the painted Dutch box with mirrors inside and several peep-holes in its walls, looking through which a miraculous, life-like and always different view of the hunters in the winter forest would open”. […] She writes masterfully. Reading the novel you feel the narrator mysteriously disappear, just like in some Dutch paintings so favoured by Sabaliauskaitė: when you look at them and wonder if the painter is inside or beside the painting? […] Those, who will step into the forest – will be drawn in and intoxicated..."Vidas Dusevičius, "Kultūrpolis", 2009 02 25
"... The characters and the atmosphere are drawn tastefully and with the art historian's emphasis on aesthetic details, the storyline is solidly built, the intrigue is maintained, and one can hardly stop oneself reading..." Giedrė Kazlauskaitė, "Verslo žinios", 2009 02 20.
"...Probably the best historical novel of recent years..." Paulius Volverstas, "Naujasis židinys-Aidai", 2009 Nr. 1-2.
"...I would like "Silva Rerum" to become a film...", theatre director Gintaras Varnas, Kultūra, Alfa.lt, 2009 02 14
"... I praise this historical novel for it performs a small miracle. I believe, that many of you are familiar with a feeling, when you see the remains of the past in museums and you simply cannot imagine those shrunken and fragile relics of the past belonging to real, alive people. But some novels and some films do miracles - when you read or watch them, all remnants of the past suddenly make an entity and become alive..." Jurga Vaičiūnaitė, "15 min", 2009 02 10
"...The appeal of “Silva Rerum” is that it does not depict seventeenth-century nobles neither as heroes, neither as fools. Nor – saints." Renata Baltrušaitytė, “In the crossroads of a historical novel”, “Veidas”, 2009 01 19
"… A lively mosaic in pearls of the memory presented on a completely new page of the 21st century Lithuanian literature. An exciting transportation to the Lithuanian past – and not only for an erudite historian, philologist or art historian, but for anyone with an interest in our history. One-page-long billowing sentences, carved like marble monuments are justified by their meaning and content, they mobilise and captivate attention to everything that the author desires to tell. Quite credible, that the readers will not want to part with the Narwoysz family." Janina Survilaitė, “Meaningful hours in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania”, Bernardinai.lt, 2009 01 12
TV Interview: "Culture News", LTV2, 2008 12 28, 6:50
"…Reading this novel could be compared to wandering inside of St.Peter and Paul’s Church in Vilnius, or looking at the Baroque monstrance, decorated with precious stones and made of various, big and small, complicated things, that are interesting to look at. And the impression leaves you with something of a fairy-tale, is enchanting and at the same time distressing, mysterious; it affects human emotions and impels you into reflections on life, death, beauty and ugliness, nobleness and the lowest desires. Everything that the Baroque is, is in this book.
This book gives you sensual, intelectual and cognitive pleasure. It is written in many levels you can move through. But I was left surprised with the book’s ending. Surprised in a way, that only the Baroque can surprise – when you look at the image and suddenly realise, that it is much more than you thought." - Historian Dr. Irena Vaišvilaitė, author of “Beginning of the Baroque in Lithuania”, "“Lrytas.lt”, 2008 12 11, "The pleasure of touching the seventeenth century - in K. Sabaliauskaitės historical novel"