Title:  Alphavilnius: A Strange Adventure of Arnold Sputnik   Author: Valentinas Klimašauskas  Year of publication: 2008  Pages: 160  Publisher: Kitos knygos (Lithuania)  World English rights available.

Title: Alphavilnius: A Strange Adventure of Arnold Sputnik

Author: Valentinas Klimašauskas

Year of publication: 2008

Pages: 160

Publisher: Kitos knygos (Lithuania)

World English rights available.

This novel within a novel begins when an aspiring author suffering from writer’s block answers a telemarketing call and inadvertently orders a brain implant that allows the direct download of his thoughts and dreams, automatically sending them to publishers and producing books. Arnold Sputnik, a character in one of these books, is from the future, a person fooled by pirate biotechnology companies and their conspiracies, an unfortunate victim of ideological mechanisms. When Arnold falls in love with Vera, an elite escort, they go on the run, searching for a new and simpler life. They end up in the obscure provincial town of U, pretending to be brother and sister.

Alphavilnius is a conceptual adventure novel, a theme park where Arnold and a host of characters roam through the realms of realism, sci-fi, literary theory, kitsch and porn literature, creating a kind of infinity mirror effect. A bold experiment in metafiction that challenges conventional thinking on literature, and even the book as an object: the novel’s cover is located in the middle; parts are written in programming language or include email threads.

Linear reading is disrupted by a fragmented narrative and by sections of crossed-out text. It is up to the reader whether to include those parts in the story or leave them aside. Blacked-out content speaks of certain taboos or things that should not have been said or done. The author discusses LGBT issues and feminism, and mocks contemporary politics and power struggles. In addition to the genre-bending textuality, Klimašauskas provides references, quotes and commentary from pop culture, media and other genres, from Joseph Brodsky to Slavoj Žižek, David Bowie and even Paris Hilton.

Valentinas Klimašauskas is a curator and writer currently working at Kim? Contemporary Art Centre in Riga as a programme director. He is the author of B and/or an Exhibition Guide In Search of Its Exhibition (Torpedo Press, Oslo, 2014) and a founding co-editor of The Baltic Notebooks of Anthony Blunt. Polygon, his most recent work on the post-truth era, is forthcoming in Lithuania from Six Chairs Books.

This novel is a real hurricane in Lithuanian literature, a challenge to a stagnant Lithuanian literary establishment that fears pop or internet culture. Likely side effects may include feeling weight-
less or surreal, and the possibility of forgetting
your way home. There is a kind of magic in this.
— Tomas Marcinkevičius, bernardinai.lt