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Fiction Literary


A Novel

by (author) Antanas Sileika

Dundurn Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2011
Literary, Historical, Political
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2011
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  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Feb 2011
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A tragic love triangle set in a forgotten place during an invisible war.

Inspired by true events, Underground tells the story of a troubled romance between Lukas and Elena, two members of the underground Lithuanian resistance movement in mid- 1940s.

After shooting up a room full of Soviet government workers during their engagement party, Lukas and Elena become folk heroes to their political cause, but are forced deep into hiding in order to escape punishment for their role in the massacre.

When their secret bunker is discovered, Lukas is nearly captured. Believing his beloved Elena has been killed in the raid, Lukas is forced to flee the country and the increasingly hopeless resistance movement that he has defended over the years.

Finding himself stranded in Paris, Lukas tries in vain to generate some political interest in the plight of his country. Settling quietly in Europe, Lukas falls in love again, remarries, and begins his life anew. When an unexpected crisis arises back home, the tranquility of Lukas’ new life is shattered. Stealing back into his former country, Lukas embarks on the most important fight of his life.

Based on true historical revelations and fragments of the author’s family history, Underground is an engaging literary thriller and love story that explores the narrow range of options open to men and women in desperate situations, when history crashes into personal desires and private life.

About the author

Antanas Sileika is a Canadian author of five previous books of fiction as well as a memoir. Working as a Canadian journalist of Lithuanian descent, he became involved with the movement to restore Lithuania’s independence from the Soviet Union. His collection of short stories, Buying on Time, was shortlisted for the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour and the Toronto Book Award and long-listed for CBC’s Canada Reads in 2016. His books have repeatedly received starred reviews from Quill & Quire and been listed as among the one hundred best books of the year in the Globe and Mail. He has reviewed books for print, radio, and television and he served as the director of the Humber School for Writers until retiring in 2017. He currently lives in Toronto, ON.

Antanas Sileika's profile page

Editorial Reviews

...the moments of poetry and incredible insight into a forgotten part of history result in an interesting and worthwhile novel by Seleika

In the Next Room

The tale is briskly told, with pages of dialogue and swift changes of scenery. You can almost see the film script emerging.

The Edmonton Journal

Entertaining and sometimes shocking the book describes a little known period of European history that has been kept underground far too long.

The Gazette

Underground might be described as a historical love story, but it is also a political military/spy thriller. Sileika writes with a spare style that suits the action sequences as well as the rare moments of tenderness or humour. Entertaining and sometimes shocking, the book describes a little-known period of European history that has been kept underground far too long.

Vancouver Sun evocation of the harsh, often brutal life endured by partisans in their struggle to bring the attention of the West to their plight.

Quill and Quire

Sileika's novel is a gripping tale...engag[ing] the reader to the last page.

National Post

...full of poetry and wisdom gorgeously expressed... a brilliant, highly accessible military history, one that remains largely repressed--underground-- in the East and in the West.

Globe and Mail

...left me mourning the loss of these (barely fictional) family members and more curious about my own ancestors

This is a powerfully imagined book which reminds us that political oppression in whatever form eventually brings on a wrathful vengeance.

Seleika does capture the partisans droll humour and aphorisms in many passages

The Toronto Star

In an uncompromising novel, post-war Lithuania receives its due.

Literary Review of Canada

...he has written a tough, uncompromising book and brought those forgotten stories back to life

It's a curious novel telling an unusual story...One of the best descriptions of life on the run by dedicated partisans, it's brutal in places, heroic in others, and always rewarding.

Owen Sound Sun Times

...elegant thinking that characterizes this rare and compelling chronicle of Lithuanian partisans...

The Globe and Mail

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