European Union Prize for Literature (2019); Book of the Year in Lithuania (2018)
On the morning of his 29th birthday, Lithuanian Stasys Šaltoka wakes up next to a woman he doesn’t know, in his own bed, in New York, realising that his days look good only through Instagram filters. Ferocious anxiety lurks under the photogenic everyday surface, and the question WHY? keeps poking him in the back – what the fuck should he do with his life? Stasys decides to change lanes and moves to Southeast Asia. New friends, an occasional wan tan mee, phad thai or mashed potatoes, all drowning in whiskey and sarcasm, leads him to making documentaries about the third world. Yet there is still just silence inside him.
Cold East is the second novel by Gabija Grušaitė, telling the story of today through an inner transformation lens of thirty-year-olds, through the search of profound happiness or meaning while dancing around the surfaces of life, and through human ties.
Cold East is exceptional. Beautifully written and easy to read, it's a book about you and me – post-Soviet hipsters. It’s an intense exploration of values and the meaning of life in a modern Instagram society. I absolutely could not put it down.
– Rūta Pulkauninkaitė-Macikė, CEO of hotel PACAI
Gabija Grušaitė's novel exploded like a bomb on the Lithuanian literary scene, dragging us willy-nilly into the 21st century.
– Violeta Kelertas, literary crictic
New Literature from Europe festival, New York City, 2018
Searching for the meaning of life hasn’t been dismissed yet, it’s still the eternal quest. And this quest is exactly what the author undertakes. It is shielded by irony, sarcasm, and Instagram filters, but still addressed.- - - Marius Burokas, Vilnius Review, poet and translator