Polish Lit in Translation – Cover Battles #2 | Entanglement by Zygmunt Miloszewski

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Read my review here. | Goodreads.

Entanglement by Zygmunt Miloszewski

The morning after a group psychotherapy session in a Warsaw monastery, Henry Talek is found dead, a roasting spit stuck in one eye.

Public prosecutor Teodor Szacki, world-weary, suffering from bureaucratic exhaustion and marital ennui, feels that life has passed him by. But this case changes everything. Because of it he meets Monika Grzelka, a young journalist whose charms prove difficult to resist, and he discovers the frightening power of certain esoteric therapeutic methods. The shocking videos of the sessions lead him to an array of possible scenarios. Could one of the patients have become so absorbed by his therapy role-playing that he murdered Telak? Szacki’s investigation leads him to an earlier murder, before the fall of Communism.

And why is the Secret Police suddenly taking an interest in all this? As Szacki uncovers each piece of the puzzle, facts emerge that he’d be better off not knowing, for his own safety.

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Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk

Title: Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

Author: Olga Tokarczuk

Pub Date: original 2009, American translation coming out on August 19th, 2019

My Rating: ★★★★★

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“Extraordinary. Tokarczuk’s novel is funny, vivid, dangerous, and disturbing, and it raises some fierce questions about human behavior. My sincere admiration for her brilliant work.”—Annie Proulx

In a remote Polish village, Janina devotes the dark winter days to studying astrology, translating the poetry of William Blake, and taking care of the summer homes of wealthy Warsaw residents. Her reputation as a crank and a recluse is amplified by her not-so-secret preference for the company of animals over humans. Then a neighbor, Big Foot, turns up dead. Soon other bodies are discovered, in increasingly strange circumstances. As suspicions mount, Janina inserts herself into the investigation, certain that she knows whodunit. If only anyone would pay her mind…

A deeply satisfying thriller cum fairy tale, Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead is a provocative exploration of the murky borderland between sanity and madness, justice and tradition, autonomy and fate. Whom do we deem sane? it asks. Who is worthy of a voice?

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Polish Lit in Translation – Cover Battles #1 | Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk

A thought came to my mind – what modern polish literature was published around the world? What was translated, how the titles were translated, and what’s most interesting for me – how to covers were changed to appeal to different cultures?

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Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk

A subversive, entertaining noir novel from the winner of the 2018 Man Booker Prize.

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead takes place in a remote Polish village, where Janina, an eccentric woman in her sixties, recounts the events surrounding the disappearance of her two dogs. When members of a local hunting club are found murdered, she becomes involved in the investigation. Janina is reclusive, preferring the company of animals to people; she’s unconventional, believing in the stars, and she is fond of the poetry of William Blake, from whose work the title of the book is taken.

Filled with wonderful characters like Maladroit, Big Foot, Black Coat, Dizzy and Boros, this subversive, entertaining noir novel, by ‘one of Europe’s major humanist writers’ (Guardian), offers thought-provoking ideas on our perceptions of madness, injustice against marginalised people, animal rights, the hypocrisy of traditional religion, belief in predestination—and getting away with murder.

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Entanglement by Zygmunt Miłoszewski

18898659Title: Entanglement

Author: Zygmunt Miloszewski

Pub Date: PL July 2007 | UK August 2010

My Rating: ★★★★★

View on Goodreads | Buy on Amazon |Book Depository


Sunday, 5th June 2005

The revived Jarocin festival is a big success, with ten thousand people listening to rock bands Dżem, Armia and TSA. The JP2 generation takes place in the annual prayer meeting at Lednica. Zbigniew Religa, cardiac surgeon and politician, has announced that he will run for President and that he wants to be “candidate for national reconciliation”. At the tenth anniversary “Aviation Picnic” air show held in Góraszka, two F-16 fighters are on display, prompting an enthusiastic response from the crowd. In Baku the Polish team trash Azerbaijan 3-0, despite a poor display, and the Azerbaijani trainer beats up the referee. In Warsaw, police distribute grisly photos of car-crash victims to drivers as a warning. In the suburb of Mokotów a number 112 bus catches fire, and on Kinowa Street an ambulance overturns while carrying a liver for transplant. The driver, a nurse and a doctor are taken to hospital with bruising, the liver is unharmed and is transplanted that same day into a patient at the hospital on Stefana Banacha Street. Maximum temperature in the capital – twenty degrees, with showers.

It is the day and state of Warsaw, Poland when a man is found dead with a roasting spit stuck in one eye. He is discovered by one of fellow therapy group members. The case is taken by prosecutor Teodor Szacki. You wouldn’t suspect how twisted the case will be, and how far in the history of both Poland and the deceased, Szacki will have to go to find out the truth. The story is deeply rooted in Warsaw; each chapter starts with a short intro on what is happening in Warsaw, Poland and world like the one I quoted above. The crime is also strongly related to Communist times in Poland. But those are not things that will prevent you from enjoying this great mystery, they are exceptional and add a lot to a story when you understand them, but still, I believe that the story is as solid without them.

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