Whitehorn's Windmill

or the Unusual Events Once Upon a Time in the Land of Paudruvė
Author: 
Translator: 
ISBN: 
978-963-9776-71-5
paperback
$17.95 T/ €13.95 / £11.99
Part of series: 
Publication date: 
2010
284 pages

Because of his political views, Kazys Boruta spent years in prison both before and after WWII. In the last phase of his life in Soviet Lithuania, he earned a living by translations published under a pseudonym.

Most of Whitehorn’s Windmill (Baltaragio malūnas) was written in 1942, during the German occupation. Bearing a lyrical style that gives full rein to the oral folktale tradition Lithuania is famous for, the novel is by turns romantic, farcical, fantastic, and tragic. The sense of spirituality that permeates the work reflects Lithuania’s pagan roots that were overlaid with an occasionally over-zealous Catholicism not so very long ago.

The story is about Whitehorn the miller’s efforts to find a match for his beautiful daughter, Jurga, against various calamities with and among suitors, neighbors, priests and other inhabitants of the village, and ultimately against the devil’s spell. The interesting plot made the novel popular as juvenile literature, too.

"Upon beginning Kazys Boruta’s novel, the reader will first be struck by the simple, informal prose and fairy-tale setting. But this mid-20th-century Lithuanian classic is anything but provincial. It is in the depictions of Lithuanian folk tradition that the heart of Whitehorn’s Windmill lies, especially for an uninitiated English-language reader. The steadily paced fantastical elements, free of intrusive plot devices and didacticism, flow over the reader calmly, just as the current from Whitehorn’s windmill would if he or she were standing beside it. Towards the end of the novel, Boruta poses the question: “What sort of fairy tale is this then?” He isn’t claiming too much when he answers: “Why it’s life itself!”"

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