9, By Andrzej Stasiuk, trs Bill Johnston
Sunday 20 April 2008
Stasiuk's story of a young entrepreneur struggling to survive in modern-day Warsaw begins in a smashed-up flat overlooking frozen streets resembling "a distant Christmas". It's an extraordinary image – the kind of thing Stasiuk writes so well – that says so much about the city.
Pawel, the entrepreneur, sips coffee in the early morning half-light, anxiously considering his options. It won't be long before the loan sharks who broke up his possessions come back to find him. As the novel pans out, we follow Pawel's desperate attempt to save himself by scraping the depths of Warsaw's drug-fuelled black-market economy populated by addicts.
But is there anything worth being saved for? Stasiuk portrays a city twisted by free-market excess where Pawel and his associates must simply survive. Of course, none of this would mean half as much if Stasiuk's political vision wasn't backed up by some intensely poetic writing – fluently translated by Bill Johnston. A book like this makes most British and American writing seem so asinine.
There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turningTV
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 All Blacks Aaron Cruden misses New Zealand flight after drinking session, has brilliant excuse
- 2 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': TV reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 Alicia Keys leaks nude photo 'to create a kinder and more peaceful world'
- 5 Clothes store Joy angers mental health campaigners with Twitter exchange on bipolar disorders
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God