Antanas Sileika

Antanas Sileika is a Canadian novelist and critic, and Director of the Humber School for Writers, in Toronto. His latest novel, Underground (Thomas Allen & Son, 2011) is set in the underground resistance to the Soviet Union in the late 1940’s “Entertaining and sometimes shocking,” says the National Post, “the book describes a little-known period of European history that has been kept underground for too long….”

Of his succinct piece below, Sileika says:

In my novel before last, Woman in Bronze, I had a young woman return from church to a farm porch where she saw the knapsack of her lover, who had gone to war (1918). On seeing that knapsack, at first she thought he had returned, but one look from the farmer made her realize that her lover was dead. In the original, I wrote the following two sentences. I desperately wanted to keep the second sentence, but all my editors ganged up on me and made me agree that it should go. I’m glad it did. It would have been way, way too much:

She did not think at all, no more than an animal in pain might think. Instead she felt the keening come out of her throat, the instinctive cry of women whose men died in wars since the beginning of time.

I think we’ve all got to agree with Antanas when he says, now, “That was one darling that needed to die.”

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