My review of Those Whom I Would Like to Meet Again by the Lithuanian writer Giedra Radvilaviciute is now available in the Fall issue of The Quarterly Conversation:
What is most significant in the publisher’s description of Radvilaviciute’s writing is that it identifies the contents of this book as “stories.” Although these “stories” are further characterized as “combining fiction, memoir, and essay,” this attempted clarification is more confusing that illuminating—to what extent can fiction, memoir, and essay really be “combined”?—and finally doesn’t adequately prepare the reader for the true indeterminacy of genre these stories achieve. Clearly enough the intention is to categorize Radvilaviciute’s work as fiction, and while there are qualities in these pieces that would justify considering them as fiction, this representation of them to American readers is at the least misleading about the way they are received in Lithuania, where Radvilaviciute is more likely to be considered an essayist and where the essay itself has become an increasingly prominent literary form. . . .