By Andrzej Stasiuk
A very strange novel. I liked it but not as much as Stasiuk’s more recent ‘Fado’. There was a strong current of melancholy throughout and the setting itself in the mountains gave it a surreal almost fantastical edge. I am tempted to visit that part of Poland now – the South-East near the Ukrainian border. Not because I want to emulate any of the activities in the novel but because it seems it must still be quite wild there and not as touched by the West. This was his first novel – I think perhaps it shows in that his voice is not as authoritative as Fado. However I do have a very small sample size of novels I have read by him. There is another I purchased recently so will start that shortly. This is contemporary in some aspects, with the nature of the prose, but then there is a chaotic hopelessness that seems to underpin it all giving it some bite. I enjoyed but I think Stasiuk has written and will write better.
Some aspects of it reminded me of Cosmos by Gombrowicz.
Soundtrack: Loneliness – Ed Harcourt