For a full hour I sat at my desk and stared up at the two photographs. One by one I smoked a packet of twenty Prima cigarettes.... The earth, I felt, was beginning to shift, and the long dead were stirring.
In the closing days of the twentieth century, an elderly writer wanders the streets of Vilnius, Lithuania, possessed by the need to photograph the young mothers of the city. In their faces and the faces of their children he sees the reflection of a secret that haunts him. A secret he has spent years trying to bury.
In a decaying back street of the city a woman struggles to raise her family. As her son dreams of a better life she is torn between Vilnius’s twilight world of prostitution and her determination of securing hope for her children. She too is haunted by memories that rob her of sleep.
In Vilnius the rubble of the Jewish ghetto lies side by side with the fallen statues of communist heroes. Through this tangled debris of past and present the story of the writer’s great love and his even greater betrayal begins to coil its way to the surface and demands to be told.
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Published January 1, 2003
Literature & Fiction.