#language & literature
Seven final books of the 9th edition of the NIKE 2005 Literary Award
Seven final books of the 9th edition of the NIKE 2005 Literary Award
- Anna Bikont, My z Jedwabnego ["We of Jedwabne"]. Publisher: Proszynski i S-ka
"It is hard to walk out of the world created in this book, though while in it we encounter terrifying facts and must endure bitterness and anger and sadness," wrote Halina Bortnowska.
Anna Bikont's book is a record of four years of her work as a reporter. The journalist found witnesses of the crime committed at Jedwabne, went about verifying their memories, searching for documents no one has accessed in decades, recording statements made by historians and the debates that played out in newspapers and magazines. We of Jedwabne is not only about that mass murder but also, and perhaps above all, about the false memory of that tragedy we have today, about how and why we wish to suppress that memory, whatever the cost. "The book is nightmarish, because the reality it describes is a nightmare - the most gruesome of the gruesome," wrote Msgr. Adam Boniecki about We of Jedwabne in "Tygodnik Powszechny" ("Popular Weekly").
- Hanna Krall, Wyjatkowo dluga linia ["An exceptionally long line"]. Publisher: Wydawnictwo a5
The story of the inhabitants of a certain townhouse in Lublin's central square, many of whom perished at Sobibor and Majdanek.
A book about Franciszka Arsztajn and Jozef Czechowicz. "This building is a mental projection composed of dozens of complete or broken, interrupted biographies. The book is none too large and might even be called inconspicuous. But each sentence that adds to the building's interior simultaneously builds a part of a world that exists almost solely in the form of memories," wrote Tadeusz Nyczek in "Przekroj" weekly. Hanna Krall had the following to say about working on the book: "One of the two living former inhabitants of this building told me the story of the young doctor Jan Arnsztajn. His wife passed away, and later his lover shot herself at his grave. This sounded improbable, like a street ballad. But the doctor's grandson confirmed it was all true."
- Ewa Kuryluk, Goldi. Publisher: Twoj Styl
This may be the most personal book art historian, painter and essayist Ewa Kuryluk has ever written. It is about Goldi, the gerbil that was the writer's best friend in childhood.
From beneath these warm family stories emerge the cold Polish realities of the 1950s and 60s. We hear incompletely expressed memories of wartime, things about the new post-war order and about turmoil at the offices of "Odrodzenie" / "Rebirth," the periodical headed by the author's father. We progress to the Polish Embassy in Vienna, then to the offices of the State Scientific Publishers and the so-called "encyclopedists" scandal that proves a harbinger of the anti-Semitic campaign of 1968. All this, however, we see through the eyes of a maturing girl whose parents keep things from her. She guesses much, but cannot hope to understand everything. That is why she writes of the anti-Semitic upheavals of March 1968 as a "storm that broke out on Women's Day," and why one of the chief consequences of this storm from the child's perspective is that "Tadzio and Basia K. broke off ties with our family."
- Ryszard Kapuscinski Podroze z Herodotem ["Travels with Herodotus"]. Publisher: SIW Znak
This newest book by the exceptional writer and reporter explores the world through the work of Herodotus, another great, though ancient, reporter and traveler.
"Did someone encourage him to undertake these investigations? Commission him to complete them? Did Herodotus offer up his services to some magnate? (...) Who needed them? For what?" we read in Travels with Herodotus. These reflections on the destinies of cultures and civilizations in various epochs and on various continents, about barriers that remain insurmountable in spite of knowledge and preparation, mix well with the author's autobiographical anecdotes. Of his difficult start in journalism as a reporter for "Sztandar Mlodych" ("The Banner of Youth") and the Polish Press Agency, Kapuscinski writes, "We all knew very little about everything, but I knew nothing about the countries I was assigned" - a beautiful and courageous confession from this observer and thinker.
- Tadeusz Rozewicz Wyjscie ["Exit"]. Publisher: Wydawnictwo Dolnoslaskie
"Once again Rozewicz has published a volume that exudes his recognizable tone and simultaneously contains a great load of new things," wrote Malgorzata Baranowska of EXIT.
This is the author's seventh nomination for the NIKE Award. In the year 2000 the volume Matka odchodzi / Mother Departs gained the author top honors in the competition. As is often the case with Rozewicz, the poems in Exit reference literary and philosophical tradition, but are also a comment on the contemporary world: "words have been exhausted / chewed up like chewing gum / (...) weakened by politicians / they can be used to whiten teeth / (...) now weakened / wrapped in newspaper / they are still poisonous and stink." Rozewicz also returns at times to his life story: "in the year 1945/ in October / I came out from underground / (...) With Przybos I sought / a place on earth / with Staff I began / a reconstruction from smoke / from the chimney / with professor Kotarbinski/ I voted 3x yes."
- Andrzej Stasiuk Jadac do Babadag ["Going to Babadag"]. Publisher: Czarne
This book praises the provinces - that inferior, unneeded and forgotten world; and it praises the freedom that those excluded from attention enjoy.
Going to Babadag is about the author's travels through Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, Moldova, the countries of the former Yugoslavia and the Hungarian provinces. From this travel journal emerges a treatise about half a continent, its cultures and inhabitants. The protagonists are landscapes that have not changed in years and people who, like the landscapes, have not changed in generations. "I should write the story of Gypsy eternity, because I sense that in some way it is more enduring and wise than our states and cities and our entire world, which trembles lest it be eradicated," writes Stasiuk. He proceeds in Going to Babadag to record the beginning of this story of unneeded people and unneeded places.
- Dariusz Suska Cala w piachu ["Covered all in sand"]. Publisher: Czarne
"Death very much becomes Suska's poetry. And this is poetry that moves you to real tears," writes Jaroslaw Klejnocki of COVERED ALL IN SAND.
Nonexistence, questions about whether anything exists beyond time return again and again in Dariusz Suska's poems. This was the case in his previous volume, Wszyscy nasi drodzy zakopani / All Our Dear Interred Ones, which gained the author a NIKE Award nomination in 2001, and this is the case with Covered All in Sand. The author goes on walks with his daughter, plays in sandboxes with childhood props, and hears a child's questions asked in a naïve language. Yet this language can be used to formulate series questions, like the ones in the poem "Jestes za malutka, zeby sie tak hustac" / "You're Too Young To Be Swinging That High": "If you're not around, then what will you do, daddy?" Or those in "Mandarynka" / "Mandarin Orange": "Oh goodness, it was a tire-squashed mandarin / that you cried over, when the one eighty-nine bus / took off from the stop."