Fall Books from a Polish perspective

American literary magazines and blogs have been awash with all the autumn releases – the so-called heavyweights (yawn) and many others of varying merit and interest. For a little perspective it’s interesting to look at Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza’s 20 most interesting fall books, as noted on Slovakia’s Project Forum Salon.

Because the list is international much of it looks very familiar. Coming in at number five, Patti Smith with Just Kids. Next up is JK Rowling’s adult book in its brown paper wrapping, then something by John Lennon (maybe Bob Dylan really will win the Nobel) and in second place is Salman Rushdie’s Joseph Anton.

At the top of the list though is the most intriguing looking book of the lot and one which English-language readers will have to wait for. It’s Dorota Masłowska’s first novel in seven years Kochanie, zabiłem nasze koty (Darling, I’ve Killed Our Cats). The novel is described as featuring “our present-day middle classes, whose native tongue is Google Translate and to whom notions such as spirituality, politics or history are completely alien.”

Masłowska’s Snow White and Russian Red (US title – White and Red, UK title) was translated into English in 2005 by Benjamin Paloff while her play A Couple of Poor, Polish-Speaking Romanians has had a lot of international performances, including some excellent ones in Prague. Her second novel, Paw królowej (The Queen’s Peacock), won Poland’s prestigious Nike award, but perhaps hasn’t been translated because it is written as a rap of almost 200 pages and translators have it hard enough as it is.

Other Polish writers with works in this top 20 include Joanna Bator, Sylwia Chutnik, Krzysztof Varga and Czesław Miłosz, whose previously unpublished science-fiction novel Góry Parnasu (The Parnassus Hills) has received mention here before and will hopefully make it into English before the planets discussed in the book have been reached and populated.

Photo – From the cover for Kochanie, zabiłem nasze koty (Darling, I’ve Killed Our Cats) by Dorota Masłowska.

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Categories: Books


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  1. Rationality by Heller, Maslowska & DwakinsDr. Monika Badecka-Kozikowska - 31/10/2012

    […] the moment one should read a book by Dorota Maslowska, Darling, I’ve killed our cats. Some say it’s funny, some say it’s sad. It is probably both. There is no contradiction. […]

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