Poland

The 2013 Polish Session will take place on Tuesday, September 10 at 6 pm at the Mid-Manhattan Library (NYPL), Corner Room Gallery, 1st Floor – 455 Fifth Avenue (and East 40th St)

If you would like to register for this event, send us an email at poland.nyc@europeanbookclub.org

The Book: On the Road to Babadag: Travels in the Other Europe, by Andrzej Stasiuk

On the Road to Babadag - Book CoverAuthor Andrzej Stasiuk sets out on a journey from his native Poland to travel through Europe, but instead of visiting the typical tourist cities, Stasiuk carves his own path through the less-traveled lands of Central and Eastern Europe.

On the Road to Babadag recounts Stasiuk’s unforgettable adventures revealing the sweep of history in the culturally rich nations of Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Albania, Moldova and Ukraine. Winner of the 2005 NIKE Prize, Poland’s highest literary award.

The Author:

Andrzej Stasiuk is one of the leading lights of contemporary Polish literature and has been translated into more than twenty languages. His work – primarily prose fiction and essays – examines the realities of life in Poland after 1989 while articulating a uniquely Central European perspective on the world, one marked by its ambivalent position between Western Europe and the periphery. In this, Stasiuk shares as much with the Polish tradition of reportage, with writers like Ryszard Kapuscinski, for instance, as he does with other acknowledged forebears such as the Polish cult author Marek Hlasko or the American beat writer Jack Kerouac.

Born in 1960, Stasiuk was dismissed from secondary school, drifted through a succession of odd jobs, joined the Polish pacifist movement, and was drafted into the army, from which he deserted (as legend has it, in a tank) and spent a year and a half in prison – an experience that provided the material for his first novel, The Walls of Hebron (1992). Shortly after it came out, he moved from Warsaw to a village in the Beskid mountains in southern Poland, the setting of Tales of Galicia (tr. Margarita Nafpaktitis, Twisted Spoon 2003) and Dukla (tr. Bill Johnston, Dalkey Archive 2012), where he and his wife, Monika Sznajderman, run the publishing house Czarne. Other works that have appeared in English include Stasiuk‘s collection of travel essays, Fado (tr. Bill Johnston, Dalkey Archive 2009)—a previous European Book Club selection—and his novel Nine (tr. Bill Johnston, Harcourt 2007).

The Reviews:

The Guardian: “A eulogy for the old Europe, the Europe both in and out of time, the Europe now lost in the folds of the map.”

Minneapolis Star-Tribune:Andrzej Stasiuk writes beautifully, powerfully and vividly.”

NPR:On the Road to Babadag has great humor and a wonderful loopiness. Stasiuk shows what life is like when the stakes are so low the rest of the world regularly overlooks you.”

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