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Finding the Moon in Sugar [Paperback]

Gint Aras
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 2 2009
"Gint Aras' writing is infused with a rare sensitivity for the thousands of seemingly trivial things that give meaning to life. He invites us to laugh at his hero, then sneaks him into our hearts." Dan Vyleta, author of Pavel & I

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Most helpful customer reviews
By Cynthia Danute Cekauskas, LCSW TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This is the story of a strappy, poorly educated yet resourceful young man born and raised in an Illinois town the product of a dysfunctional family. His life seems to be going nowhere when he meets a beautiful Lithuanian lady, more than a decade his senior, in a neighborhood laundry. She hires him for a sexual encounter later found out to be the mail order bride of a drug dealer who was late for an appointment with the young man. The young man develops a relationship of sorts with the woman whom he later follows to her native Lithuania. There, through a series of events, the young man later meets another Lithuanian woman, closer to his age, who he falls in love with and marries before returning to the United States. The story does not end here, however, as the young man discovers an important connection between his deceased maternal grandfather and the original woman's husband.

Like the author, my parents were displaced persons from Lithuania who settled in the United States. (My maternal grandparents, my mother's only sister and her two brothers settled in or near Toronto, Ontario, Canada). I was told about this book by Daiva Markelis, another American born Lithuanian author whose book WHITE FIELD, BLACK SHEEP:A LITHUANIAN-AMERICAN LIFE was recently published. From the start I did not know what to expect. After all, I led a rather sheltered life protected by my parents from growing up too fast in suburban Detroit. Although most of us were aware that substance abuse in the United States had been a problem since the 1960s I personally had had very little exposure other than the occasional marijuana cigarette that always seemed to passed around at college fraternity parties.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and spellbinding... Nov. 28 2009
Format:Paperback
Gint Aras uses raw and believable narrative to unfold the story of his hapless hero, Andrew, a young man facing a seemingly hopeless future in an impoverished working class American town.

This is truly a memorable work. Written for the current reader, it reaches back to the classic literary method of asking more questions than it can hope to answer.

Every word is gilded, fitting into the gritty tale like pieces of a puzzle. The end result is well worth reading. What a discovery! Can't wait for Aras's next book...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wit and truth Jan. 30 2009
By R. Mockaitis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The author gives Andy Nowak a unique voice that helps to pull you in to the character quickly. The descriptions of otherwise regular things and actions in a new and refreshing way is what really sets this novel apart from others. Here, the author has a real talent for turning a phrase that makes you stop reading just to savour it for a moment before reading on. On its face, some may say this novel is about drugs and sex and travel, but those are just vehicles for the authors message that there is truth in the little things we experience. We discover those little truths along with Andy, although oftentimes Andy doesn't realize it for what it is. It is those discoveries along the way and the wit of the delivery that really make this novel a unique and compelling read.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deeply Textured, Sentimental, Tragic, and Hilarious April 17 2009
By Twisted Knickers - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Andrew Nowak is an all-American reject: undereducated, a bit of a slacker, the product of a dysfunctional family, and self-proclaimed dirtbag. Andy isn't even good at being a drug dealer. In his own words: He can't even sell what people want.

As our story begins, Andy is waiting in a local laundromat for a client when a very aggressive woman approaches him. This woman turns out to be the Lithuanian internet bride of said client. She promptly offers Andy one thousand dollars to service her -- orally. A hot woman, sex, and a thousand dollars, needless to say, Andy goes home with her. As the story progresses, we get an insider view into Andy's lost and lonely heart and soul. Andy definitely has the Toa of Pooh. While Andy might be clumsy and accident prone, he is very much self-aware and very aware of the world around him. His simple-mindedness is that of innocence not arrogant stupidity, and that makes Andy very, very charming, much like the stray dog he befriends when he reaches Lithuania. Yes, Andy sells everything, buys a plane ticket, and chases Audra, the Lithuanian Internet Bride, to her homeland. At this point, the story veers off into the predictable stranger in a strange land plot device. We have a lot of wandering aimlessly; we have the wizard of Oz cast of characters, including Toto; and we have dive bars, discothèques, and drug parties, but in reality, this story isn't about the cliché plotline. It's really a study in desperation and co-dependence. Audra is mentally ill, and as it manifests itself, we don't get a medical diagnosis or a laundry list of symptoms, we get to feel its effects very deeply through Andy. His simplistic, colourful, and almost childlike view of the world allows the emotion to stay raw and uncluttered. There are no justifications -- no analysis -- just Andy's honesty. When Andy finds a picture Audra had drawn in his private journal, I got the chills. Actually, the book was full of insightful thrills, chills, a little romance, and enough twists and turns to keep the story entertaining from the first page to the last, which, by the way, is one of the most poignant parts to the story -- almost an Aesop's Fable ending, if you will.

Overall, I loved it. The story flows smoothly, the plotline is flawless, and the imagery is restrained and innocent in its beauty. The prose is tactile and at times even poetic. The main characters are painfully tragic, and so we can laugh, cry, be horrified and be mortally wounded all at the same time. Shakespeare would be proud. Those who like tragic black comedy will adore this book. Those who want psychological realism and those who want to look a little deeper into the psyche of deviant and damaged characters will love its masterful subtlety. Bravo! I can't wait to read more from this author.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Finding the Moon in Sugar Jan. 16 2009
By L. Boskovic - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
On a quest for personal fullfillment, Andrew "Berwyn" Nowak follows an unendingly bewildering, sad, and attractive Lithunian woman back to her homeland. Along the lines of Chris Offutt's "The Same River Twice" and William Least-Heat Moon's "Blue Highways," this is a journey of a young man who's taken wrong turns and ended up in dead ends for much of his young life, but never really given it much thought.

For Andrew, pleasure can be measured in a bong hit, a bottle or a fantasy about what napping by an open window could bring. But only through a chance encounter with a drug client's wife does he see a world outside of Berwyn, IL. He finds himself following her to Lithuania, but that too doesn't result in the satisfaction he thought he would find. Ultimately, though, he finds peace in manhood after misadventures along the way.

The cultural references to Berwyn and the bars of Vilnius, Lithuania are a dead-on.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Find this book and read it! Jan. 23 2009
By Barbara Harris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I found this to be a really enjoyable read. I could not put it down. The characters are believable, likable and easy to relate to. It's a wild ride through countries and relationships! Very funny and clever. I highly recommend buying this book!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read March 18 2009
By S. Kramer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Finding the Moon in Sugar kept my attention. The characters lives were a train wreck waiting to happen and I needed to see the wreck, waiting for it with each page flip. The author's attention to detail and the descriptiveness made the book come alive. The style in which the book was written was the first thing that caught my attention. It was authentic as to how an uneducated 20 year old from Berwyn speaks. To sum it up...a great read unexpected ending and the way seemingly random events all tie together was also unexpected.
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