‘There was no Place for Words’ (2013)

The author of the novel ‘There was no place for words’, Guntis Berelis, says, ‘In 1913 the first feature film was taken in Latvia. In 1914 – the First World War broke out, making everybody excited but all for different reasons. In 1915 Kurzeme becomes a desert – about 700,000 people desert it, leaving only ghosts roaming around the swamps. In 1916 people gradually realize how terrible a slaughter they have willingly become part of. If the world has lost its mind, how can one person refuse to obey the universal appeal?’

‘Beginning as a slightly grotesque historical decoration, the novel waltzes away as the death dance of the bastard Tuss. Born from the vandalizing flame of 1905, charged by the enjoyment and agitation of violence, the character of Tuss, embedded in the extinct and haunted Kurzeme in World War I, introduces the reader to the most horrid parts of the war, until now unrevealed by Latvian literature and thus most obscure. Tuss is a fanfare of war. Unlike the dark character or the Black Knight, who has served as a clearly defined symbol of the evil in our literature, Tuss is the evil of a crippled spirit and banality, to which Berelis has not even given an oponent to. The novel is a rough challenge for readers and romanticists of history.’ (Gundega Repše)

The book was published in the series ‘We. Latvia. XX Century.’ within the framework of the SCCF’s target programme ‘National Identity’.