A novelist and author of a volume of verse, born in Gdańsk in 1957, Huelle is a graduate in Polish of the Gdańsk University, and has also worked in that city as an employee of the "Solidarity" press office, university lecturer, journalist, director of the Gdańsk Polish Television Center and, most recently, as a columnist for Gazeta Wyborcza. Huelle has found enormous success as a writer and been honored with many prestigious awards.
His books, and especially his first novel Weiser Dawidek (1987) - classed by critics as "the book of the decade," "a masterpiece" and "a literary triumph" - have been widely translated. Weiser Dawidek is set in Gdańsk in 1957 and concerns the mysterious disappearance of a thirteen-year-old Jewish boy at the end of an unforgettable summer vacation, and the private investigation into the affair carried out many years later by the narrator, one of Dawidek's boyhood friends, whose whole life was changed by the unusual events that happened so long before. Dawidek, the leader of the band of boys, was a mystery in himself: a sort of messiah, miracle-worker and magician, and the emissary of unknown forces. Part thriller and part parable, this detective story is full of historical metaphors and can be read in many ways: as a story of growing up, as a novel of manners and morals, or a political or adventure novel, or even as a philosophical treatise.
The adventurous search for the truth, which reflects the unknowability of the world, also occupies the protagonists of stories included in Huelle's next two books: Stories for a Time of Relocation (1991) and First Love and Other Stories (1996). Here, too, seemingly routine events becomes signs of mystery. Huelle's stories are set in various, scrupulously reconstructed places and historical periods - although they remain associated, for the most part, with the author's home town of Gdansk and its environs. They represent a record of the author's own adolescence and his search for a mythical genealogy and spiritual roots. It is worth adding that a large part is played in this record by the memory of literary texts, so that at times we have to do with pastiche, allusions, and dialogues with contemporary authors or literary predecessors (critics have pointed out many points of contact with Günter Grass and Bruno Schulz), which add another dimension to Huelle's work.
Writing is the art of telling stories. (Paweł Huelle)
Source: www.polska2000.pl; copyright: Stowarzyszenie Willa Decjusza.
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