Lithuanian Culture Institute
Lithuanian Culture Guide, Prose

Saulius Tomas Kondrotas

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Saulius Tomas Kondrotas (born 1953) left the Soviet Union in its last years and moved to the West, firstly to Germany and the Czech Republic, where he worked for Radio Free Europe, and later to the USA. A historian by education, he began writing after university, and published his first collection of novellas in 1977. With a reputation as a difficult writer, he often explores Freudian and Jungian themes, and especially the mythological world-view. His plots often border on the absurd, but his prose is very rich and beautiful. He has also written a film screenplay. Since emigrating he has stopped writing and has worked as a photographer instead.

Žalčio žvilgsnis (The Glance of the Serpent). Vilnius: Vaga, 1st ed. 1981; Vilnius: Baltos lankos, 2nd ed. 1996; Vilnius: Vaga, 3rd ed. 2006. – 262 pp.

Published in several languages, the novel tells the story of a family in Lithuania at the end of the 19th century. However, the plot is non-linear and otherwise rather tangled. Realistic events mingle with grotesque ethnographic scenes, myths and visions, and everything has something of the absurd about it. While the plot is based on a real story, the author is more interested in the inner workings of a person’s mind, his mythological subconscious, and his fate. The author himself described the book as a study of love, its various forms and stages. But it is also possible to describe it as a study of a person’s struggle against his inner demons.

Selected translations

Russian: Взгляд ужа. Санкт-Петербург: Translated by Tomas Čepaitis. Издательство Ивана Лимбаха, 2017

Latvian: Čūskas skatiens. Translated by Talrids Rullis. Rīga: Kamene, 2000

Greek: Η σκια του φιδιου. Translated by Lida Pallantiou. Αθήνα: Ψυχογιός, 1996

Dutch: De schaduw van de slang. Translated by Ellen Beek. Amsterdam: Meulenhoff, 1994

Portuguese: A Sombra da Serpente. Rio de Janeiro: Editora Record, 1994

Danish: Slangens skygge. Translated from French by Mette Kruse. Kopenhagen: Rosinante, 1993

Italian: Il collezionista di tramonti e altri racconti. Books & Company, 2016

La solitudine dell’acqua. Translated from French M. Basile. Milano: Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, 1993

Catalan: Els ulls de la serp. Translated from French Júlia Ferrer ir Miquel-Lluís Muntané. Barcelona: Columna, 1992

Hungarian: A kigyo pillantasa. Translated by  Endre Bojtár. Budapest: Szazadveg Kiado, 1992

Spanish: El ojo de la serpiente. Translated by Pilar Giralt Gorina. Barcelona: Seix Barral, 1992

French: L’ombre du serpent. Translated by Ugnė Karvelis. Paris: Albin Michel, 1991

German: Der Schlangenblick. Translated by Irene Brewing. Graz: Arcadia, 1990