After over a decade in prison, a young sculptor, Yuri Dilienko, returns to his old neighborhood in Cicero, Illinois. He finds the town stripped of so many places he used to know, while the town's familiar streets, bricks and steeples trigger memories of his traumatic youth. To convalesce, he sculpts from collected scrap metal, but his arrival in town soon rouses a young girl, Lita Avila, to curiosity. Could this reclusive and oddly quiet man, whose art is sensitive yet intense, truly be guilty of setting fire to his parents' bungalow and burning them alive? At once an homage to the urban grit of Nelson Algren and the family sagas of Leo Tolstoy, The Fugue is a true epic that spans three generations and over fifty years, a major new achievement in the history of Chicago literature. It considers the effects of war and the silent, haunting traumas inherited by children of displaced refugees. Gint Aras's lucid yet lyrical prose braids and weaves a tale where memory and imagination merge, time races and drags, and identity collapses and shifts without warning.
"A sprawling, fascinating novel...a grand addition to the bookshelf of Chicago authors." - Rick Kogan, WGN Radio
"[M]agisterial...Like Dostoyevsky and the other Russian masters to whom Aras is clearly indebted, this book doesn't shy away from the big themes, and yet he has written a story that should have no trouble holding many a reader under its spell." - Chicago Tribune
"A marvelous book. Intricately arranged and composed of raw emotion, The Fugue resonates well beyond its last page. In the tradition of the great Russian novel, perhaps closest to Dr. Zhivago, The Fugue is a joy to read: full of surprises, unashamed of emotion but never sentimental, a sincere, big-souled book." - Dan Vyleta, author of The Crooked Maid
"A remarkably graceful, complex, multi-layered work, beautifully executed, intricately plotted, steeped in historical authenticity--a genuine, serious accomplishment. Gint Aras has written a book of lasting value." - Mikhail Iossel, author of Every Hunter Wants to Know
"The Fugue is a masterpiece of literary fiction that echoes novels like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Les Miserables, and To the Lighthouse with its cross-generational plot line and deep-seated narrative about the struggles, sadness and often futile nature of life...Beautifully composed and entirely unforgettable, Gint Aras' The Fugue is a must read for the year." - Centered on Books
"Highly entertaining...important and brilliant." - Heavy Feather Review
"A must-read." - Newcity