I, by nature, do not drink. Review of Virginia and Jānis Lejins’ novel Straupe Townspeople / Day

I, by nature, do not drink. Review of Virginia and Jānis Lejins’ novel Straupe Townspeople / Day

When I read the news about the recently published book of Virginia and Jānis Lejins on Facebook Straupe castle lords, I noticed that the writer and critic commented on the news, he was also the editor of the book, Guntis Berelis, confessing to a strange sin: having received the manuscript to be edited from the publisher, he first bothered to find out what Jānis Lejins was. It seems completely impossible that Latvia’s most erudite literary critic would have forgotten the trilogy Stamp in red wax and the author of other large-scale historical texts, so I guess there will be a hook here. Yes, it turns out that the text of the novel received was so atypical and different from the previous work of Jānis Lejins that the editor made a logical conclusion in embarrassment: apparently there is another Jānis Lejiņš who writes completely differently …

However, it must be said here – this is probably a friendly flirting with both the text and the author. Because, although Jānis Lejiņš (the first, the real and the only one) really gained recognition for his thorough, balanced, fact-rich historical Stamp trilogy, as well as one of the first literary messages about Latvian German-Baltics Obscure camera, but both in these works and, even more so, in the novel published in 2017 A man’s heart in addition to erudition, intriguing narrative talent and knowledge of a wide range of factual material, a sincere, sometimes masculine black, but undeniably tasteful humor also regularly flashes. And it seems to work Straupe castle lords the author has finally allowed this edge of his talent no longer to climb along the side road, but to rumble in the middle of the road.

Games will be!

The message on the first page of the book reports that this story was originally conceived as a movie – an idea that failed to materialize. Something cinematic is also expected from the fact that alongside the writer Jānis Lejins, the author is also a television director, a popular TV series Destroyers of destiny by the creator Virginia Lejins, as well as an image of the cover of the novel, reminiscent of a surreal Dali – style photograph. The outline of the well-known architectural monument – Straupe Castle – is illuminated in psychedelic pink-purple tones as such. Staro Riga a light object, on the right side of the building grotesquely twisted in a more distorted perspective reminiscent of an animated film, the lower part of the image is tinted correctly documented in black and white, So there will be games, and more!

This is also signaled by the fact that for most Latvians the name combination “Straupe Castle” is not associated with the past of the nobility in our country, but with the once famous healing clinic for alcoholics, which is located in the castle premises. Thus, the saying “go to Straupe” in colloquial language no longer means touring the native land, just as with the romantic waking up after the water lilies has little to do with the well-known party song “One Pole in the Lake / about the middle”, where after counting countless poles begins with ” Straupe Castle in the lake “, ie for the previous joy of logical results. All of this is already intriguing Straupe castle lords as a cunning, multi – layered and witty textual puzzle that the reader will have to remember – and this is exactly what this novel turns out to be.

Hurricane of events

It is completely impossible to tell the story, and it would be superfluous – suffice it to mention that the mystery is started by a mysterious death, which may or may not be a crime. Behind the accident, a whole tail of coincidences and coincidences begins to stretch, which includes one investigator, three talented men with a dark biography, two women with fate-like names, a drunken car mechanic with golden hands and, most importantly – Straupe’s “castle lords” of all ages. »A company that with different successes in the cozy rooms of the architectural monument tries to get rid of too close friendship with the green dragon.

However, what truly unites former teachers, lawyers, chess players, students and others is the common healing of the already mentioned crime, which has been witnessed against his will by a colleague of all of Straupe, also the mentioned owner of a golden hand, unfortunately also a reliable green dragon. friend Valdins. The naive, honest, character-weak man, who is in the center of the hurricane of the variegated events of the whole novel, seems to be related to Lejins’ previous novel A man’s heart to the central image of Ludis Steinberg: his mix of good and not so good qualities in character creates a character who is at the same time just so human and just so annoying that the reader, without a moment’s hesitation (but rather sincere fluff), always stands by his side.

Literary needles

Both the official investigation and the flock of delighted alcoholics search for their own hands, trying to find the traces of a criminal group and, most importantly, not to evict a lonely woman, whose (married) Valdiņš is caught in the heart like a thistle. confidence limits.

Realistic scenes and episodes from barns, apartments and “castle chambers” are glorified by robbery, chasing, and quite amazing coincidences. But the dexterity with which the authors twinkle literary needles, crocheting at first glance a completely confusing narrative of several logical, parallel storylines, not forgetting to give almost every background character a very polite life story, and in the end all the lines end in a very fairytale-like a suitable “wall” is exactly what we expect from such a text (or film) – a worthy rocking of the roller coaster at all heights, to finally get back on the ground and regain the breath almost lost in laughter. Because, although on closer inspection, Straupe castle lords behind the comic austerity touches each other quite directly on a topical and not at all comical problem in society, however, the ease with which it is done does not allow the gravity of reality to “ground” the text.

From another point of view, for example, the very existence of the Straupe Hospital and the fact that it treats not only homeless people but also members of numerous creative professions and different generations quite clearly outline the grandeur of the alcoholism problem. is easy to pull off. However, it is good that the authors do not try to emphasize social problems, economic turmoil in the country or historical injustice in the novel – although all this is foreseeable.

The very foundations Straupe castle lords tells of the same innumerable banal expressions gilded and yet – fortunately – unchanging human relations, which save and support even if they are strange, confused and difficult. “God draws straight with curved lines,” – this sentence in the novel word for word entered from A man’s heart Luda Steinberg’s mouth. In the end, a logical drawing emerges from each tangle, and when reading / observing the author’s talentedly tangled and tangled story, somewhere far away in the mind, a belief is formed that perhaps our curvy lines will one day miraculously straighten.

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