Gabija’s literary debut was a novel “Unfulfilled” published by Baltos Lankos publishing house in 2010. The novel has received a critical acclaim and proved to be controversial and very timely text that captured the psyche of the post-Soviet millennials who has left the country to continue studies in Western Europe, the first Lithuanian generation to experience globalisation. The Lithuanian Institute of Literature has selected “Unfulfilled” as part of the shortlist of 12th Most Creative Books, a prestigious annual award. The novel has earned a reputation as a controversial work because many conservative literary critics have been shocked by the apathy and aloofness shown by the characters of the novel. “Unfulfilled” has triggered a discussion about the value system of the millennials and contributed in raising questions about the identity construction of the young people who grew up in the independent Lithuania.
— Jūratė Čerškutė Perviršio kartos neišsipildymo kronikos — Džordama Graicevičiūtė Šiuolaikinės kartos kronika ar romanas ŠMC ir Cafe de Paris lankytojams — Tomas Čiučelis Tikrovės nuojauta apie pirmąjį G Grušaitės romaną Neišsipildymas — Daiva Repečkaitė Gabija Grušaitė Neišsipildymas — Maištinga Siela Gabija Grušaitė Neišsipildymas — Sandra Bernotaitė Mūzos Love’onėlis — Kristina Šapytė Literatūros emigrantės — Moteris Interviu — Laura Bojarskytė Apie homoseksualumą ir lietuvybę jaunosios kartos akimis — Veidas Interviu — Delfi: Sigita Limontaitė Londoną į Malaiziją iškeitusi rašytoja G.Grušaitė: kelionės mano priklausomybė — Lietuvos Rytas Lietuvių literatūros ir tautosakos instituto literatūrologai išrinko kūrybiškiausių 2010 metų knygų dvyliktuką — Inga Norkė Visiems snobams idiotams hipiams jupiams visiems — Žydronė Kolevinskienė Šiuolaikinės lietuvių literatūros spindesys ir skurdas — Dalia Satkauskytė Egzilinė (ne)tapatybė naujausioje lietuvių emigrantų kūryboje — Emilija Visockaitė Buržujiškos svajonės — Jūratė Sprindytė Apie knygų puotą ir dvasios nuovargį
Now I just know that a palm is a tree without a shadow in a country where heat always scorches bare soles. I also know that in this city there is no heat and the only shade falling in the early morning empty street is that of our own – Ugnė’s and my shadow, a blurred patch spanning across all the cities that we have ever visited. Only later did I realize that that shadow was our shade, that we lived in the dark, co-existing, in parallel, with the paths we had to choose. It was November. London. We were to meet at the Liverpool Street station at eight in the evening. That morning I woke up very early and, frozen, was looking at a pale square of the November sun crawling up the wall. It was crushing my bones like an avalanche, forcing me to remember all sunrays that had ever woken me up in my life, all rooms that I had ever dreamed of; forcing me to realize how much time had passed since the time when I last felt the shining of the sun of change. We met in silence, didn’t hug each other, didn’t shake hands – it seemed that time had stopped. I just remember that later I was walking in silence and felt how, with her chin raised firmly and gently, she was floating a step behind me. I was thinking that life is an enormous circle – ghettos in the east part of the city, rhythmical facades of the houses, avenues of horse chestnut trees – we rise in the morning to move to south east and to return, in twilight, to north west. Our rhythm should be always the same solar tropic. Ugnė used to say that movement in space is just half a journey; she would say that with her face touching the railing in Paris metro, in those happy times when we lived in Boulevard de la Republique. I looked at her oblong face with protruding cheekbones and knew that for Ugnė, the only journey is self-annihilation. I used to laugh when I said that while burning on a bonfire she would take me with her, like warriors take their horses, sultans – their wives, and creators – their muses. And now, a thousand years later, we meet, having completed an entire circle of longing, we are walking in silence through the deserted alien city realizing that it is the beginning of the end. After daily petty odysseys, after long pointless flights, a postcard-glossy week on a tropical island, after insomnia, after aspirin, after lies there still remain those few streets – the road back, which eventually sinks into blood and evolves into a duty. No matter how we tried to escape, to demine the inner mechanism of self-annihilation, now we gave in and returned to the only path that we sometime had to walk – together, deep into a dream. Silence was rolling along with leaves, spraying us in rain; it was moving down the hill and taking us home. We walked rhythmically, with our chins raised and hair thrown back in the same manner, just like, before, we walked in Paris and Helsinki, but never in Vilnius. I couldn’t stand her gestures and her voice, because they were my gestures and my voice, we had grown together to such an extent that we turned into a weeping willow that sways in dark streets early in the morning. We both were over thirty and people would say that life was just starting. They would say that when drinking sangria on sunny patios, while in the distance, like a huge crown, there sparkled poor West End musicals, formal dinners, children, nannies, reading of bestsellers and art, which is taken in through a glass of wine at boring exhibition openings. Behind this world, there was another – the fear of not yet paid mortgages and financial collapse, envy, boredom and tones of an anti-wrinkle cream. It did not concern either of us. We were people beyond the story of success and illusions. We were on the other side of family stories, on the other side of that silent stifled tragic streak that tortures people from Mažeikiai to the suburbs of London. In my parents’ world we were people who had never done anything appropriate, to journalists we were the golden geese living in the world of illusions, and people around us saw us as a fairy-tale of success and pain, just confirming the myth of the genius as a terrible disease that ruins the individual and thus feeds the society. Animated longing – the lost nothing – people without a history, without home or roots. I am a rabbit taken to be slaughtered. I will lick the hand checking the value of my fur. I don’t cost much. Words somehow weren’t born while we walking down the hill, and therefore that silence was gradually becoming history, the one we never told anybody and which we didn’t have. Ugnė believed that we started to live only when, for the first time, we noticed that the world was not what it should be, when we faced the divide between the narrative and existence, when there appeared a crack and the personality moved to the ultimate margin. I kept returning to those moments, trying to cover up the crack, to glue the breakage, but then my mother’s face would arise, at the time when I was twelve years old and when she finished off out Saint Bernard dog, and that trace of lying and guilt in her face. Gods are dethroned only once, after that they simply become old sad people mourning the unfulfilled time. Later I realized that not only people, but also their worlds were limited: textbooks were lying, history did not develop in regular stages, it wasn’t a charming lady climbing the steps of millennia until it reached our blissful epoch and, smiling, sat down for a cup of coffee at the Hyde Park pond. For twelve years I had been taught lies and things that nobody knew or understood. They taught me that the world functioned only when you performed the logarithms of life with your eyes closed. They thought that in Auschwitz, after a hard work’s day and after playing the roles of the suffering and the wronged, everybody sat down for a cup of coffee and for a chat about the weather. They thought that Palestine deserved its fate. There’s a murder and there’s a murder, and I sometimes thought of how the future generation would be apologizing for the Gaza genocide and would be strangling a new victim at the same time. In my parents’ world nobody liked talking about the weather, life or death, thus they would chat about art, and Giacometti turned into the word referring to withered women who were no longer fucked. Since I liked Giacometti and hated the perfume of the withered women, with a sweet smile and clenched teeth I went to the history exam and crammed, necrophillically, the Holocaust, Lenin and ancient Egyptian civilization. I just had to answer totally meaningless questions, I had to learn to lie and pretend that I understood this world, that I knew why a civil war, a revolution and the Bosnian genocide had happened. School-leaving exams are maturity, but only because you begin to realize that this path doesn’t take you anywhere. Disgust at being forced to lie was the last thread that cut off my link to Vilnius. I was prepared to enter Ugnė’s world where living started only when you broke into pieces. She was tall, had ash blonde hair, sharp cheekbones, and was not scared of spiders, snakes, uncertainty, bankruptcy or loneliness. I have never found out how she spent her childhood or what her parents were like. Ugnė lived only when she played with sound; the rest, even myself, was the background nourishing her music. Overcome by ecstasy, people kept saying she was a genius, but they were wrong because genius is a human quality emerging from knowledge while Ugnė’s creation was born of self-denial and asceticism. I don’t think any of us understood her. I only know that when I nestled up to her back I was always slightly scared to be rejected – it seemed I was touching a black hole or a Uranian moon.