Vytautas Vargalys is stuck in an absurd job, helping to create a digital catalog for a library in Soviet-ruled Vilnius that no one is allowed to access. A survivor of the labor camps, an experience which has left him both physically and mentally damaged, Vargalys is obsessed with finding out "what's really going on" in Vilnius. As his tenuous grip on reality begins to slip, he discovers that They have taken over. They are dead-eyed demons who have assumed human form; They are determined to steal everyone's soul and turn the world to shit. Vargalys begins to find evidence of Their presence wherever he looks: in books, in the death of his best friend, and in the beautiful women who are sent to work at the library. One of these beautiful women is Lolita, an aptly named seductress with a mysterious past and a growing love for Vargalys. Vilnius Poker chronicles the tragic relationship between Vargalys and Lolita-and between Vilnius and everyone who lives in the city-from four different perspectives, and it captures the surreal horror of life under the Soviet yoke. By turns lyrical, philosophical, and deeply shockingly, Vilnius Poker is often referred to as "the turning point in Lithuanian literature" and it earned Gavelis his reputation as Lithuania's greatest novelist.
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Review: Vilnius PokerUser Review - Soujisblackcat - Goodreads
THIS. BOOK. It's altogether so incredibly frustrating that I'm not sure how to start describing it. And I couldn't possibly give it a rating! God no! As for plot summary, well, that's impossible. But ... Read full review
Review: Vilnius PokerUser Review - Dan - Goodreads
Stopped after about 20 pages when I realized I don't need to read any more long novels with paranoid misogynist narrators. An unfortunate waste of one of Open Letter's great early hard-bound covers. Read full review