Polica Dubova

Slovensko / English

Jacek Dehnel: Pupa

Jacek Dehnel
Translated by Jana Unuk
376 pages
Format: 129x198 mm
Year: 2012
Edition Eho, 3
ISBN 978-961-93382-2-3 / ISBN 978-961-7020-05-2 (epub)
Retail price: 24,90 €
Discount price: 14,90 €
E-book price: 4,99 €

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Book reviews:

- Nives Vidrih: Jacek Dehnel: Pupa, KUD Police Dubove, 2012, prev. Jana Unuk. Naša žena 7/2013. 44.
- Ana Geršak, Robni zapisi. Literatura št. 3–4 (2013).
- Gloss Ekspres (priloga Dnevnika), 02-2013. februar 2013.

This charming, nostalgic book is by a very young writer, poet and painter who comes from a fairly typical Polish “upper class” family; its roots are in the landowning aristocracy, and it has many international connections. Part of the family is from the former eastern borderlands of the pre-war Polish Republic, and part from central Poland. From one generation to the next the landowners become the intelligentsia: writers, artists and engineers or senior officials. It happens in dramatic circumstances; in the background we see a revolution, two wars, the rise and fall of the communist regime, and the extinction of the landowner culture. Dehnel tells us the history of his own family and the whole of Polish society, but makes his grandmother the main narrator – a woman with a wonderful, intriguing personality and enormous character. The story she tells has not been reconstructed chronologically in its logical sequence. It consists of numerous short tales and anecdotes that the grandmother has told her grandson, so the task of piecing it all together is left not just to him, as her audience, but also to the reader, who becomes more and more deeply involved in this typically Polish epic. At the same time the grandmother is gradually declining, falling ill and becoming senile, so in the end it is her grandson who tells her stories he has heard from her in the past. This slowly deteriorating narrative finally comes down to a single plane, where the events of several decades are played out simultaneously. This is an unusual historical record, as well as a tribute to Lala – Helena Bieniecka, the main heroine of events, and the person who turns them into a vivid story in the form of a dialogue with her nearest relatives that matures and grows old with her.
Jerzy Jarzębski

Jacek Dehnel, born 1980, prose-writer, poet, translator, painter; made his debut with a collection of short stories called "The Collection" (1999), then continued with the novel "Lala" (2006) and the further short-story collections "The Square in Smyrna" (2007) and "Balzacalia" (2008); he has also published books of poetry: "Parallel Lives" (2004), "Journey Southward" (2005), and "Poems 1999-2004" (2006), which contains the previously unpublished poem cycle ‘In Praise of the Passage of Time’; he has won the Kościelski Prize (2005) and the POLITYKA Passport (2006); he lives in Warsaw.
From his debut volume of poetry onward, Jacek Dehnel has written verses which the critics acknowledge as "an aestheticizing neo-classicism, approaching academism" (Anna Kałuża). He often turns toward the past, taking liberally from high culture, and particularly drawing from modernism. On the surface his poetry is ostentatiously old-world, but he often mixes the past with the present (for example: in 'Journey Southward' all the poems bear dates from the beginning of the 20th century), often using pastiche, paraphrase or stylization.
The novel "Lala" brought Dehnel considerable popularity, and a reputation as one of the most promising prose-writers of the younger generation; it is a family saga, in which the central figure is the author’s grandmother, Elżbieta (‘Lala’) Bieniecka. This extraordinary old woman clearly fascinates her grandson, enchanting him with colorful stories from their family history, and those of the European intelligentsia. "Lala" is also a compelling tale about the passage of time, sickness and death. Dehnel describes the grandson’s efforts with exceptional feeling and depth, as he devotes himself to taking care of his increasingly ill grandmother.
The short stories in "The Square in Smyrna" include texts written from 1999-2002, and thus when the author was very young. But these are not just literary warm-ups. Dehnel speaks in a confident voice right from the start. These stories by the author of "Lala" are elegant literature, full of cultural references and poetry crossed with subtle irony. The title story stands as a sort of introduction to "Lala", while in others the writer presents a whole gallery of various intriguing figures, including a would-be priest, who helps to paint a whorehouse and ends up becoming a lover to one of its employees.

(Source: http://www.bookinstitute.pl)

Translation was supported by Polish Book Institute - Translation Program POLAND©.

Browse the book:


Odlomek / Fragment  -  18122012Jacek_Dehnel_Pupa_str_1-20.pdf


Recenzija / A book review - Nives Vidrih (Naša žena 7/2013)  -  030120142013-07_Dehnel_Nasa_zena_(recenzija_Nives_Vidrih).pdf

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