A Country in the Moon - Michael Moran
Michael Moran was born (1947) and educated in Australia. He spent his twenties wandering the islands of Polynesia and Melanesia and later trained as an English teacher in London, studying the piano and harpsichord professionally. Posted for some years to Poland shortly after the fall of communism, he became fascinated with its history, people and landscape, and the music of Fryderyk Chopin in particular.
A Country in the Moon is the result of Michael Moran's fascination with this remarkable land over nearly two decades. In this entertaining personal memoir and meticulously researched cultural journey we keep company with a gallery of fantastic characters - Tatars and Teutonic Knights, Napoleon's mistress and daredevil Spitfire pilots, robbers and Rolls-Royce mechanics, heroic defenders of freedom alongside an ill-assorted group of modern Britons and Poles.
This captivating journey into the heart of Poland is a timely celebration of a valiant and richly cultured people only now returning to the European fold.
The Polish translation of the book will be released in 2010, the bicentenary year of Fryderyk Chopin's birth, by the Polish literary publisher Wydawnictwo Czarne. There is an extensive chapter concerning Chopin's youth in his native land.
"...the best contemporary travel book on Poland, reminiscent in its finest moments of Patrick Leigh Fermor's masterful 'Time of Gifts'... [An] erudite, humbling and rhapsodic travel book... No thinking traveller interested in Poland should overlook this essential book." (The Guardian)
"This memoir is in the tradition of Lawrence Durrell's 'Bitter Lemons' and proves a well-crafted, spirited and original polonaise, triumphantly balancing humour with scholarship." (The Observer)
"There is so much to admire in this well-researched and hugely entertaining book, and so much to learn... 'A Country in the Moon' is a three-star feast." (The Spectator)
"This lively and intelligent book is stuffed with original material that is both fascinating and quite new to most people in the West. Moran has a taste for the baroque oddity, the outrageous eccentricity and the all-but-incredible historical anecdote." (The Times Literary Supplement)
"This superb introduction to Poland and the Poles is written with a keen eye for the ridiculous and powerfully communicates the surreal quality of the post-communist environment of the early 1990s... ...This is not just a travel book, but also a journey through Poland's history, informatively and entertainingly re-told by a man with a real gift for storytelling." (The Good Book Guide)
"Moran writes well of the Polish concept of żal (regret after irrevocable loss); of Polish pride, honour and exuberance mingled with pessimism; and of the importance of the Catholic church and the family... This well-written book offers some much-needed history lessons." (The Daily Telegraph)
- Michael Moran
A Country in the Moon: Travels in Search of the Heart of Poland
Publisher: Granta Books, May 2008
160 x 240, 362 pages, hardcover