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A balloonist finds himself set upon by erotic lepers...a passenger on a ship notices a human eye on the deck...a group of aristocrats enjoy a vegetarian dish made from human flesh...a virginal young girl gnaws raw meat from a bone...a notorious ruffian is terrorized by a rat. Welcome to the bizarre universe of Witold Gombrowicz, whose legendary short story collection is presented here for the first time in English. These tales, hilarious, disturbing, and brilliantly written, are utterly unique in world literature. After reading them, you'll never be the same.
Dreams and Stones is a small masterpiece, one of the most extraordinary works of literature to come out of Central and Eastern Europe since the fall of communism. In sculpted, poetic prose reminiscent of Bruno Schulz, it tells the story of the emergence of a great city. In Tulli's hands myth, metaphor, history, and narrative are combined to magical effect. Dreams and Stones is about the growth of a city, and also about all cities; at the same time it is not about cities at all, but about how worlds are created, trans- formed, and lost through words alone. A stunning debut by one of Europe's finest new writers.
A single streetcar line runs around the sleepy suburban square of an unnamed city. One day--out of nowhere--a group of hapless refugees pour from the streetcar and set up camp in the square. The residents grow hostile to the disruption and chaos, and eventually take matters into their own hands... Flaw is Tulli's most intense and personally motivated work to date, while still retaining the signature mind-and word-play so admired by critics and her growing readership.
By the Ko?cielski Prize-winning author of Dream and Stones, In Red is the gripping cautionary tale in which real and unreal combine explosively, making us question the nature of the work itself. Set in an imaginary fourth partition of Poland, In Red retraces the turbulent history of the twentieth century in a labyrinth of greed, inheritance, and entropy, enacting--word by tremulous word--the claustrophobia of a small town from which there seems to be no escape. Never have Tulli¢s trademark precision of language and her crystalline storytelling been put to such brilliant use.
InMoving Partsa feckless, comical narrator struggles against all odds to tell a story for which he is responsible, but which he neither controls nor understands. His characters multiply, repeat, and go astray; his employer is paying no attention, asleep in a drunken stupor. The increasingly desperate narrator clambers over rooftops and through underground passages, watching helplessly as his characters reappear in different times and settings and start rival stories against his will. This thought-provoking, wryly humorous work from the acclaimed author ofDreams and Stonestells of the sadness of the world and of the inadequate means that language and storytelling offer us for describing and understanding it. Yet it does so in Tulli's characteristically clear, concrete, gorgeous prose, and, as withDreams and Stones, the book is a delight to read. This extraordinary work, utterly unique both in its form and its message, shows a European master at the height of her powers and constitutes a major contribution to a new century of European literature. Moving Partswas shortlisted for the 2004 Nike Prize, Poland's most prestigious literary award. W. S. Merwin claims, "The originality of Tulli's writing is not lessened by representing a family tree that includes Michaud, Kafka, Calvino, and Saramago. "
Although Witold Gombrowicz's unique, idiosyncratic writings include a three-volume Diary, this voluminous document offers few facts about his early life in Poland before his books were banned there and he went into voluntary exile. Polish Memories-a series of autobiographical sketches Gombrowicz composed for Radio Free Europe during his years in Argentina in the late 1950s-fills the gap in our knowledge.Written in a straightforward way without his famous linguistic inventions, the book presents an engaging account of Gombrowicz's childhood, youth, literary beginnings, and fellow writers in interwar Poland and reveals how these experiences and individuals shaped his seemingly outlandish concepts about the self, culture, art, and society. In addition, the book helps readers understand the numerous autobiographical allusions in his fiction and brings a new level of understanding and appreciation to his life and work.
A masterpiece of postwar Polish literature, Stone Upon Stone is Wies?aw My?liwski¢s grand epic in The rural tradition -- a profound and irreverent stream of memory cutting through the rich and varied terrain of one man's connection to the land, to his family and community, to women, to tradition, to God, to death, and to what it means to be alive. Wise and impetuous, plainspoken and compassionate Szymek, recalls his youth in their village, his time as a guerrilla soldier, as a wedding official, barber, policeman, lover, drinker, and caretaker for his invalid brother. Filled with interwoven stories and voices, by turns hilarious and moving, Szymek's narrative exudes the profound wisdom of one who has suffered, yet who loves life to the very core.
Our hero and narrator is the ageing caretaker of cottages at a summer resort. A mysterious visitor inspires him to share the story of his long life: we witness a happy childhood cut short by the war, his hiding from the Nazis buried in a heap of potatoes, his plodding attempts to play the saxophone, the brutal murder of his family, loves lost but remembered, and footloose travels abroad. Told in the manner of friends and neighbors swapping stories over the mundane task of shelling beans--in the grand oral tradition of Myśliwski's celebratedStone Upon Stone--each anecdote, lived experience, and memory accrues cross-stitched layers of meaning. By turns hilarious and poignant, A Treatise on Shelling Beans is an epic recounting of a life that, while universal, is anything but ordinary.
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