Latvian / Latvia

Jelgava 94
(Jelgava ’94)

Joņevs, Jānis (text)
Rīga: Mansards, 2013. – 311 p.
ISBN 978-9984-872-88-9

Youth culture / 1990s | Black metal / Grunge | Coming-of-age novel

≫Jelgava 94≪ is Latvia’s 2013 debut of the year, heralded as one of the best books out of Latvia in recent years and being bought, read and loved by many teens and adults alike. Th e plot begins on April 5th, 1994, the day the world learned of the suicide of Kurt Cobain, the grunge rock icon. For the teen protagonists growing up in uninteresting Jelgava, it is the day that divides their lives into a ≫before≪ and an ≫after≪. Speaking for his generation, author Jānis Joņevs (b. 1980) describes what it was like to be part of the emergent alternative scene in Latvia in the 1990s, a country which had just reclaimed its independence – to be a rebel, to lose control, to allow stark individualism to become one’s guiding value.

≫Jelgava 94≪ is a gripping and honest story about the grunge and black metal movements, but it also says something of the coming of age and the scars it can leave behind. (Age: 15+)