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.


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.

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

Books with similar mood

Small Wars

Sadie Jones

Summertime, All the Cats are Bored

Philippe Georget

The Invisible Bridge

Julie Orringer

Sari and Sins

Nisha Minhas

Gap Creek

Robert Morgan

Tregian's Ground

Anne Cuneo

A Conversation on the Quai Voltaire

Lee Langley

The Vanishing Half

Brit Bennett

Love, Sex and Other Foreign Policy Goals

Jesse Armstrong

The Colour of Love

Preethi Nair

Balthazar Jones and the Tower of London Zoo

Julia Stuart


Nell Zink

My Brilliant Friend

Elena Ferrante

The Missing

Tim Gautreaux

The Legacy

Kirsten Tranter

One Day

David Nicholls

This Green and Pleasant Land

Ayisha Malik

Pages for Her

Sylvia Brownrigg

Foolish Lessons in Life and Love

Penny Rudge

The Blackpool Highflyer

Andrew Martin

Havana Best Friends

Jose Latour

Any Human Heart

William Boyd

What We Did on Our Holiday

John Harding

The Reluctant Mullah

Sagheer Afzal

The Wangs vs the World

Jade Chang

The Unwitting

Ellen Feldman

The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai

Ruiyan Xu

The Other Hand

Chris Cleave

The Ivy Chronicles

Karen Quinn

The Catalpa Tree

Denyse Devlin

Good Faith

Jane Smiley

Dinner for Two

Mike Gayle

Goodnight Steve McQueen

Louise Wener

Black Swan Green

David Mitchell

Wolf Border

Sarah Hall

The House of the Hidden Mothers

Meera Syal

A Room Full of Bones

Elly Griffiths


Emily Barr

The Road to Urbino

Roma Tearne

Night Waking

Sarah Moss

Little Gods

Anna Richards

Twenty Thousand Saints

Fflur Dafydd

Someone Else

Tonino Benacquista

Standing in the Rainbow

Fannie Flagg

Of Marriageable Age

Sharon Maas

Girl in Translation

Jean Kwok

Breathing in Colour

Clare Jay

Free Food for Millionaires

Min Jin Lee

The Road Home

Rose Tremain