A Long Long Time Ago and Essentially True by Brigid Pasulka

A Long Long Time Ago and Essentially True

Brigid Pasulka

A village girl makes a new life in the big city: an old plot is rejuvenated by the setting - modern day Poland and the heavy historical baggage she carries. Her story alternates with the folk style and sometimes tragic tale of her grandparents. In turns funny, harrowing and moving, it brilliantly demonstrates how the past shapes us. It’s also a loving portrait of a battered nation but be warned: the liberal use of Polish words is a challenge.

Extract

Each day I'm here, the vision of the city that Nela promised me has been steadily shrinking and receding, overtaken by the daily routines and obligations I lug like a stone from Irena's to Pani Bozena's to Stash's and back again. But tonight, for the first time since I arrived under the dull, grey canopy of the train station, I feel the strike of flint against that stone, a small spark of possibility, and it's just enough to illuminate the fairytale city Nela used to tell me about- the delicate filigree of streets, the shining cornices of the buildings, the streetlights that stretch all the way up Krolewska like formations of fireflies, leading the way back to Irena's.

Parallels
  • A Short History of Tractors in the Ukrainian by Marina Lewicka
  • Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres