A Polish friend with excellent English recommended this, saying it was the first Polish novel he’d read where the translation was as good as the original. It made me curious and so I ordered it from Imprints here in Adelaide.
It didn’t take long to read, it definitely sucks the reader in. But I put it down, finished, a few weeks ago and I didn’t understand how I felt about it and I still don’t. The proof is where the book sits in our house. It is on a table by the front door, put there on the basis that I would take it down to my local secondhand bookshop, East Ave Books, and let them resell it. If I were sure about that, it would already have made the short trip. So I guess that means I’m not.
It’s gruesomely violent. Never have so many penises been detached from so many men – and that’s just for starters. It feels real, the description of the streets and their characters in their day-to-day life. The politics of Jewish Warsaw v. Polish Catholic Warsaw feels genuine too. But I don’t know anything about the subject matter, so my feeling is no more than that. Another thing: I kept thinking this will be a Netflix series. Sex, violence and political intrigue will fill each episode. And it has some aspect of magic realism in it, which is not my cup of tea, but I thought was probably done well.
I want to find a review of this that might enlighten me: at least to the extent of knowing if it is accurate in what it talks of, the background to the tale. But I have yet to discover such a thing.
Sorry to be so indecisive. I hope that somebody reading this may help me form an opinion, at least to the extent of whether I should put it in the bookshelves or send it out into the world for somebody else to try. At least one way or another it would stop sitting on the hall table, a constant reminder of my indecision. I don’t like not knowing what to think!