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In the Shadow of Wolves

by Alvydas Slepikas

Historical Fiction

LoveReading View on In the Shadow of Wolves

Prussia, “the winter of 1946. A cold and terrible postwar winter, a time of desolation”. In this bleak situation of never-ending cold and never-ending hunger, in a world in which “people are the wolves now”, Eva and Martha fight to keep their children fed and safe as Russian troops take over, and then their eldest sons steal away to Lithuania in a coal wagon. It’s no wonder that this elegant and intricate debut has garnered its Lithuanian author many awards. The children’s journeys see them labour, beg, escape knives, dodge bullets and summon every ounce of wit and strength. This tale is a testament to the tough resilience of the human spirit, and voices a lesser-known episode of European history with stylish solemnity.

Joanne Owen

In the Shadow of Wolves Synopsis

As the Russians advance into East Prussia, women and children are forced out of their homes to make way for the victorious troops. Their fight for survival is only just beginning...

Facing critical food shortages and the onset of a bitterly cold winter, some of the older children, the 'wolf children' secretly cross the border into Lithuania, begging the local farmers for work or food they can take back to their starving families.

Cinematic and elegantly written, Alvydas Slepikas's debut novel, based on real-life events, is both meticulously researched and stunningly powerful. It won numerous awards on publication and took Lithuania by storm.

In the Shadow of Wolves Press Reviews

`Vivid, highly dramatic and compelling... Alvydas Slepikas has broken the dam of silence.' - Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten

`This novel finds the perfect balance between documentary and literary narrative.' - Kieler Nachrichten

`A heartbreaking blend of historical facts and literary prose.' - Foreword Reviews

'A significant work of memorialisation... Slepikas - who is also a scriptwriter and director - injects his writing with a dramatic urgency that seeks to capture the scale of extraordinary suffering.' - The Calvert Journal

`In the Shadow of Wolves is a gem of Lithuanian literature. It touches a nerve as it tells the story of those who survived an awful fate, who have experienced the most terrible things.' -

`Alvydas Slepikas uses direct yet poetic language to write about a period of history that has remained almost entirely buried until now. His concise prose conveys the tragedy of the situation and contains rich details about that time and place.' - Siaures Atenai

`This novel is intriguing, important and innovative - Alvydas Slepikas confronts present with past, and cruelty and agony go hand in hand with love and self-sacrifice. His aim was to help young readers understand some of the horrors of war, and he achieves this.' - Election Year Books

`This novel differs from other works of its kind; in its narration, and its sensitive, poetic style. Alvydas Slepikas paints a beautiful picture of the world through a child's eyes - with the help of fairy tales and dreams, creating a complete contrast to the bitter reality.' -

`In the Shadow of Wolves paints a very realistic, bleak picture of life after the Second World War. The novel is unique in its story, which focuses on the life of Germans and Lithuanians after the war, and because it will not only warm readers' hearts, but will also inspire them to live.' -

`Alvydas Slepikas has written a sensitive novel that takes us back to a time filled with death, violence, hunger and bitter cold. This novel broke the taboo of silence in Lithuania.' - Eckard Scheld, Leipzig Book Fair

`Alvydas Slepikas uses concise language and fast-paced scenes to portray the children's will to survive, the unimaginable cruelty as well as the help that some of the children received. Highly recommended.' - ekz service for libraries

`In poetic language that is by turns concise and compact, Alvydas Slepikas brings justice for his young heroes and victims. Readers can almost smell the cold sweat of the women and girls as they encounter drunken soldiers, feel the deep, penetrating hunger, the biting winter cold, the beatings suffered and handed out by children as they fight for a single morsel of food, and share in their despair and their sheer will to survive.' - hansen & munk

'In the Shadow of Wolves is fast-paced, with the children sharing one experience after another. And the reader is always there too, hiding with the children in old railway trains, praying and hoping with them.' - BR24 (Germany)

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781786074683
Publication date: 06/06/2019
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781786074683
Publication date: 6th June 2019
Author: Alvydas Slepikas
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 208 pages
Genres: Historical Fiction,
Categories: Second World War fiction, Fiction in translation,

About Alvydas Slepikas

Alvydas Slepikas is one of the most multi-talented contemporary Lithuanian writers - he is a poet, prose writer, playwright, screenwriter, actor and director. He has frequently edited editions originating from the annual Spring Poetry Festival, edited the cultural weekly, Literatura ir menas, and currently oversees the fiction section of this journal. Romas Kinka works as a forensic linguist and a literary translator and finds that the two disciplines complement one another. Born in Lithuania, he has lived in England on and off since the age of six but returns to his motherland every day by translating the work of Lithuanian ...

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