Burning Worm by Carl Tighe

Burning Worm

Carl Tighe

This book recounts the experiences of an English teacher in Poland during the time of Solidarity and the fall of communism. It reads a bit like a diary - almost like you discovered it and sneaked a look. Do read in stages because each anecdote needs absorbing. I found some stories very funny, some surreal, some tragic. A book that's warm with love for Poland and its people - the characters in the book really live and breathe.

Extract

The bulkier of the two policemen set his feet, gripped the drunk firmly round the waist, gave a grunt and heaved. As the body turned we realised that the man's face had frozen to the concrete slab .... There was a pulpy, sucking sound and then the drunk lay back against the shelter, unconscious and mercifully oblivious to his injury .... I stepped away from the bloody mess on the pavement as quickly as possible. I could only manage half a dozen steps before my stomach protested. I clung to a lamp post, and threw up my meagre supper across the roadway .... I noticed a second militiaman. A few feet away from me he too was bent over the gutter, trying not to splash his boots. He shook his head, mopped his brow and straightened slowly to look at me. His voice still thick with vomit, he said slowly:
'So ... you eat in the milicja canteen too.'

Parallels
  • Ten Days that Shook the World by John Reed
  • Man of Iron - the film