Friday, December 27, 2019

Tis the Season for Relief By Execution

Gint Aras released Relief By Execution back in October with Little Bound Books. 
You can purchase a copy, and purchase a copy you should, here

Relief by Execution: A Visit to Mauthausen goes best with whatever happens to be around, and at the time of this composition, it happened to be around a bottle of Lagavulin 16. It does well beside a bottle of Austrian beer---Gösser, Stiegl or Wieselburger---and it breathes sighs of presence when accompanied by a tall glass of any Lithuanian lager, perhaps Švyturys or Vilkmergė. 

Its soul is similar to Lagavulin’s: equal parts intensity and warmth, equal notes of wood and salted air, qualities of earth and fire, and a finish that provides both invitation and closure. Never water it down. Drink it neat. 


Between the years of 1996-1999, Gint Aras lived a hapless bohemian’s life in Linz, Austria. Decades later, a random conversation with a Polish immigrant in a Chicago coffeehouse provokes a question: why didn’t Aras ever visit Mauthausen, or any of the other holocaust sites close to his former home? The answer compels him to visit the concentration camp in the winter of 2017, bringing with him the baggage of a childhood shaped by his family of Lithuanian WWII refugees. The result is this meditative inquiry, at once lyrical and piercing, on the nature of ethnic identity, the constructs of race and nation, and the lasting consequences of collective trauma. 


"A thoughtful meditation on the painful process of self-knowledge." - Kirkus Review 

"This is blistering nonfiction." - After the Pause 

"Aras is sparse with words but big on impact...This is a thoughtful, beautifully written essay that packs in many sharp questions about how people function." - New City Lit 

"Gint Aras’s story is urgently important. We need books like these, full of honest writing, earnest exploration, and profound insight." - Bookends Review 

"’s the best meditation on that strange brew of privilege and cultural heritage I’ve as yet had the pleasure to read. " - Untoward Magazine 

"Relief by Execution is probably one of the most poignant nonfiction books I have read in a long time. It unpacks questions of identity, explores curiosities of what it means be a victim, and reflects on the importance of telling your own story. " - Independent Book Review


Gint Aras (Karolis Gintaras Žukauskas) has been trapped on planet Earth since 1973. His prose considers the constructs that determine our identity, and what impact trauma has on perception. Translations, essays and short fiction have appeared in Quarterly West, Hypertext, The St. Petersburg Review, STIR Journal, Dialogo, Antique Children and other publications. He’s the author of the novels Finding the Moon in Sugar (Infinity, 2009), The Fugue (Tortoise Books, 2016), and the memoir Relief by Execution: A Visit to Mauthausen (Homebound Publications, 2019). A father of two, he splits his time between Chicago, Illinois and Klaipėda, Lithuania.

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