KELIAS I ROJU
THE ROAD TO PARADISE Jaroslavas Melnikas
Published by Baltos Lankos
Jaroslavas Melnikas is a famous Lithuanian writer. He has written books of prose, critique, and philosophy, which have been published in Lithuania and in European countries. Critics call him “a Neo-Symbolist of Lithuanian literature”. His novel Distant Space was shortlisted for Book of the Year 2009. The full text is available in Lithuanian and in Russian. Pasaulio pabaiga (The End of the World), a book of short stories, was shortlisted for Book of the Year 2007, and Labai keistas namas (Very Strange House), a collection of short prose work, was longlisted for Book of the Year 2007.
The writer’s latest book “The Road to the Paradise” is full of fantasy and fiction, or even perhaps mystique too. However, don’t we live in a world of fantasy, in a world of secrets? Our life is incomprehensible miracles, beyond the boundaries of fantasy. Designed by someone as biological automatons, which are orbiting in the universe together with a small blue sphere, we are trying to understand who we are and why we are here. We invite the one who created this world to appear from behind the screen and show us its face.
A brand new book that just has reached the bookstores already won a literary prize: the short story ‚The Roots‘ is nominated as the best short story in Lithuania. There is no doubt that ‚the Road to Heaven‘ (like all the other books by the author) will be shortlisted as one of the best books of the year and will be nominated for other prestige prizes. For now, please enjoy ‚The Road to Heaven‘ that is without question worth going along.
How does the road to heaven looks like according to J.Melnikas? The author has received numerous positive reviews. Without hesitation I could add one more: his books are original and unique in Lithuanian literary landscape. Those labels define his books well, on the other hand they frame it in an unnecessarily narrow field. ‘I have died just now and got really scared. I was expecting something different’. (Road to Heaven, p.68).
Literatura ir menas
I was not expecting this, but once I opened the book I was drawn into a surreal, colourful and imaginative world that evokes the fantasy.
‘It was summer and I chose a bench to sit on in a shadow of an old oak. I had been sitting here before, long time ago, maybe five hundred years ago. But it was a different oak – the one before, the first one, was already gone. It is so strange to live longer than trees.’
It is strange to read texts like this and believe in them, but J.Melnikas narrates so naturally that the reader could not imagine that anything could be different. The story clearly enfolds in front of one’s eyes and after closing the book one can feel that he’s about to enter a different world than that before the reading.
A famous blog about books – Knygu lentyna (book shelf)
The short story ‘The Immortality’ (…) begins with a realistic tragedy: the main character leaves the crematorium devastated by his young wife’s early death. However, then back home he finds her well and alive. At this point a surreal journey starts that takes us through a different layers of the reality and the dream. As always in the writings of this author, the fantasy is in perfect harmony with the elements of the everyday.
Mechtod Parabupal, The Last Man
When human body became an edible and also a very tasty good, incredible things began to happen. At first, of course, a mother looking towards a tasty son refrained from eating him, because she was a moral person and morality forbid to eat not only one’s own, but also the children of others. The son too, looking at a tasty mother was swallowing saliva, but would not dare to eat her. Just imagine, a son eating his own mother! And licking his fingers afterwards – that was delicious! The father watching his tasty daughter was trying to suppress himself: there were a lot of other appetizing things to eat and after all a daughter is an intimate human being. Could he eat her? The daughter was observing the father and licking her lips. The smell was intoxicating and appetizing. But would you eat your own father? Of course not! You are not a savage!
The essence of human nature…Something was holding back all those people, but what? That’s right; it was the education and the morality. And until the hunger had not grown to the size of the universe, it could be suppressed. By the way, humans were being consumed as food in some particular places in the world, because the morality was not equally strong everywhere. And there were distant corners of the world were ethics did not exist at all. There is a possibility that an immoral person might live in your neighbourhood and eat you alive if you happen to be delicious (for example a woman).
The exact same force that made human body an edible commodity intensified the hunger. And while the hunger grew, the ethics faded. People could not resist the urge anymore; they were on the edge of madness. Nobody normal would eat his sleeping daughter. Any sane daughter would not attack her father, while he is relaxing in a bath tube defenceless. That is horrible, isn’t it? It is horrible to realise that you, the beast, just did it. You, the damned daughter, just ate your own father! You ate your sister! There are no relatives left. It is impossible to bring back what you have destroyed. There is no way back for those already digested.
Weird, but there is one advantage. Death that scares us all (think coffins, graves, flowers and the nightmare of the funeral) is somehow eliminated. Someone is dead, but not really, because there was no funeral. The dead is not six feet under, he is in your stomach. He is transformed into your body cells, he becomes your body. There are no signs of death and decay on the surface. Because there is no decay. No rotting. No smell. You just happened to eat you daughter. Or maybe you consumed your own mother, when a hunger darkened the mind.
In essence, one cannot understand the consequences of eating his own relative, he just fills his stomach, satisfies the hunger, but the thought: ‘What are you doing, idiot?’ does not cross his brain. What are you devouring? With whom you are going to live? What are you taking, shithead, from yourself? Only afterwards, when the hunger is satisfied, you come back to your senses and start screaming stricken by the horror of your actions. Before your mind was non responsive.
This is how people all over the world slowly became predators that consume their relatives. Only the strongest remained in the end. After a month only three hundred people were left on the planet, real heroes with a strong sense of morality, who resisted the hunger and the urge to eat their delicious next of kin.
It needs to be explained how it was possible to eat your relative’s body. The victim when attacked would loose its ability to resist and transform itself into ‘food’. Why this happened cannot be explained. The whole transformation of human body into an appetizing snack for others is unexplainable in essence, therefore small details like that remain a mystery. The moment someone stuck their teeth into a victims’ body, it stopped resisting and the composition of the body suddenly changed. It would become tender, even the bones, the most delicious parts of the body, could be chewed without resistance as it was a main course with a slight spice of blood and flesh. However, do not think it was real blood and flesh; we are not talking about cannibalism here. We told you before that the composition of the body suddenly would transform into something tasty like a cherry tart, a poppy pie with nuts or the best candies ever. The taste was so special, so unique that people could not resist. In essence there was no blood because it was transformed into a sweet gel or maybe a delicious cream that triggered saliva running. It was enough to take a first bit and the celebration for one’s stomach would begin and nothing else mattered. You would stop if realising it is your mother, your wife or your daughter, people you cannot live without, you would be horrified realising a slow and painful existence without your beloved ones. But those thoughts would come only later when it was too late.
On the over hand, the horrible sufferings that people endured after eating their relatives were short-term. Very soon they were attacked from behind and eaten by someone else. The daughter would be dying from sorrow after realising that she had eaten her mother, while her father consumed by hunger (unimaginable, terrible hunger) would be approaching from the back. And the daughter who suffered just now from eating her own mother would suddenly transform into a cake. She would sense how slowly bit after bit her farther is consuming her, approaching the centre of the body. It was widely believed that people remained conscious after the transformation into ready to eat cakes and could still feel that someone is eating them. Till a particular moment would come (nobody knows if it was the moment when they stopped feeling or the moment they were gone). It was the same as people after a local anaesthesia would see and feel the proceedings of the operation, but they would not feel any pain (someone needs to be thanked for it, but who?)
There are few more details that require a clarification. Some of the most deliberate people who remained till the end and resisted a terrible hunger, but did not eat anyone; they would commit suicides afraid to loose their minds. Afraid to eat their beloved ones. They did not trust themselves, because they knew that hunger would eventually win. Ironically after committing the suicide due to the same miraculous transformation into a cake they would be immediately eaten by others. But their consciousness remained clean.
The before mentioned three hundred resisted for a month, but their morality was too weak to resist the organic shifts of the mentality. The hunger grew every day and eventually they would go mad and the instincs would take the upper hand. They ate each other and in the end one person remained. His name was Mechton Parabul. He was the one who ate the whole humanity. Think about it: if I ate you and before you had eaten someone else and etc. then everything we have consumed accumulates in our bodies. And if one of you have eaten everyone from one side and the other everything from the other side, then if I would eat you both, I would be the end of the human world.
I am Mechtod Parabupal. I was sitting on the rock watching the sun go down without realising my size, maybe I was of the size of a mountain? I was just sitting there and waiting, not thinking about anything, maybe except Sviridov who owned me twenty three dollars. Suddenly the heaven opened up and God appeared. He said he would be eat me and thrust his godly teeth into my body. At once I lost ability to resist (try to resist to God) and felt how I transformed into a cake. It was not very unpleasant when the God was eating me. I felt a satisfaction that was like an orgasm. Only billion times stronger. After eating me God stood up and turned off the lights in the universe.