By Jerzy Pilch
Unfortunately I have now read the sum total of Pilch’s books that have been translated into English. This novel, unfortunately, leaves you wanting more. Pilch is definitely the heir to Gombrowicz’s absurd humour and intelligence. Nothing really follows what you expect here despite the plot summary being something you could imagine a sitcom inhabiting. Kohoutek’s fancy woman arrives to stay at the family home, he hides her and a comedy of errors ensues. Not quite. Kohoutek retreats into remembering his past including some incredible comedic scenes – one involving a runnaway coffin, another regarding his father’s olympian marathons of house painting. The list continues – it is a very amusing book and I laughed out loud at several points: the hysteria of his family and the fact they keep telling each other that they will kill one another. It is almost perfect and even the fact that it is quite short is probably perfect as well; you are given incomplete views of the characters, parts of stories and all of this means that when you finish you still have something to think about. Simple. I don’t know why more writers don’t use this technique. We will now have to wait a few more years until another novel is translated. Hopefully the most recent translation, ‘The Mighty Angel’, is a success so a new release will be sooner rather than later.
Soundtrack: Candi Staton – Another man’s woman, another woman’s man.