- Monika Pozerskyte
Alvydas Šlepikas is one of the most multi-talented contemporary Lithuanian writers, moving between the worlds of literature, theatre, film and television. He is a poet, novelist, playwright, screenwriter, actor and director. His novel Mano vardas - Marytė (My name is Marytė) became the most read novel of 2012 in Lithuania and has gone through six reprints. It is one of the most translated Lithuanian books of recent times and has now been published in Belarusian, Dutch, Estonian, German, Latvian, Polish and Ukrainian.
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. 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.
Both the poetry and prose of Alvydas Šlepikas are characterized by a lively visual style and a subtle intertwining of the past and present. The unexpected twists in his characters’ fates and actions are explained through the context of the past, while psychological portraits are shaped by their living environment, both through atmosphere and through historical facts.