Lost Birds

Lost Birds book reading and signing by author Birute Putrius

April 16, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Balzekas Museum, 6500 South Pulaski Rd., Chicago, IL, 60629

Museum Members Free Admission; Non-members $5.00

About the book:

Spanning forty years and two continents, Lost Birds weaves a tale of Irene Matas and her friends, who arrive as children in Chicago after the Second World War and begin to solve the puzzle about what it means to be American. These interconnected stories follow the residents on Talman Street in Marquette Park, who fled the Soviet takeover of their homeland, Lithuania.  While the parents, sick with nostalgia and grief for their lost homeland, cling to their old ways, their conflicted children are torn between allegiance to their parents and the bright appeal of America. As Irene and her restless friends come of age in the 1960’s, they begin to grow beyond their close but insular neighborhood, but still feel drawn to their past. When after many years, the impossible happens—the Iron Curtain finally falls—some return to visit relatives only to find their country ravaged by the Soviets.  Irene returns to find something she never expected.

About the Author:

Birute Putrius is a Lithuanian-American author who was born in a Displaced Person’s camp in Germany, grew up in Chicago and now lives in California. She has published short stories and poetry in numerous literary journals and anthologies. “Lucy in the Sky” was highlighted by Publisher’s Weekly “for its charming magical realism.” Two of her stories were optioned for short films by Columbia College in Chicago. She was a finalist in the Sol Books contest and has translated poetry and non-fiction.

In Praise of Lost Birds

I couldn’t put down this remarkable novel-in-stories. Putrius writes with insight, lyricism, and gentle humor about growing up Lithuanian-American on Chicago’s South Side. Readers – not only Lithuanian ones – will love Irene Matas, the book’s imaginative, rebellious, deftly drawn heroine.
— Daiva Markelis, White Field, Black Sheep

Lost Birds is brimming with compassion, humor, existential angst, empathy, and awareness of the painful and tragic in life. Birute Putrius is our great and sincere guide throughout this maze. Through the author’s magic we come to care about the people who have come alive before our eyes. We have laughed and cried with them, and regret leaving them when we put the book down.
— Violeta Kelertas, Come into our Time

Lost Birds is a love letter to the wave of Lithuanian immigrants who came to Chicago after the war. It captures the heartbreaking melancholy of that generation and the bewildering transition of its children into Americans who are always looking over their shoulders at their own disappearing past. The stories have moments and magic and humour, and above all wistfulness for a time that cannot be recovered.
— Antanas Sileika, Underground