Ryszard Kapuściński called it "a moving book. Excellent prose on a quest of discovery of human lives - ordinary, yet how unusual, diverse lives, so often ending in tragedy."
A finalist for the 2001 NIKE Polish Literary Prize, this book by Wojciech Tochman (b. 1969) goes into the tribulations of life at extremes and how connections between people can change one's life for good. Tochman has worked as a journalist for the Gazeta Wyborcza daily and was voted Reporter of the Year in 1998 by its readers; one of the founders of the Itaka Foundation, to help missing persons and their families.
In his account of the tangled fortunes of his characters, Wojciech Tochman reaches their most intimate secrets. Not in order to create a sensation, but to discover the truth about man. 'The things that go on between human beings defy absolute explanation,' says one of the book's characters. The characters include the famous Himalayan climber, Wanda Rutkiewicz; a couple of sisters who lavish an enormous amount of love on a hideous-looking abandoned child; and some girls pressed into prostitution in the brothels of Berlin. Tochman's characters are guided by the dark powers of destruction, but also by the desire of love.
- Irena Maślińska
One Doesn't Burn Staircases / Schodów się nie pali
Społeczny Instytut Wydawniczy ZNAK, Krakow 2000
translation rights: Wojciech Tochman
the newspaper report "I'll Be Waiting At The Adress: Berlin / Czekam pod adresem: Berlin" translation rights: Stefan Batory Foundation
144 x 205, 212 pages, paperback