In his ninth book, and the third to be published in English, Andrzej Stasiuk
, one of Poland’s most successful and internationally acclaimed contemporary writers – a novelist, poet, essayist, literary critic, and more – vividly captured in 1998 a city in transition and the milieu of those marginalized by the changeover from communism to a free-market economy.
A petty entrepreneur cannot return money borrowed from drug dealers, wakes up in his ransacked apartment and fears for his life. Those to whom he turns for help, whether successful or not, are all equally caught up in the struggle for quick cash on the fringes of the economic transition. 10 years after Stasiuk wrote it, Nine describes conditions that are still widely prevalent despite remarkable economic progress since then for most Poles, and the book has established Stasiuk as a major voice in European literature. I caught a flavor of Hamsun, Sartre, Genet and Kafka in Stasiuk’s scalpel-like but evocative writing
– Irvine Welsch, The New York Times For all its street-smart pace and grit, Nine is studded with hauntingly graceful and tender passages (Bill Johnston's translation reads beautifully).
– Boyd Tonkin, The Independent Like Notes from the Underground, Dostoyevsky’s shriek of a book, Nine – love it or hate it – will long stick to your mental ribs.
– John McCaffery, KGBBarLit
Andrzej Stasiuk, born in Warsaw in 1960, was dismissed from secondary school, drifted through a succession of odd jobs, joined the Polish pacifist movement, and was drafted into the army, from which he deserted (as legend has it, in a tank) – resulting in a year and a half in prison, an experience which yielded the material for a book of stories in 1992 that immediately established him as a major literary talent. His first full-length novel in 1995 (published in English as The WhiteText Box: Raven in 2000) was a best-seller that established him as one of the most successful authors in post-communist Poland, considered by many the Polish Jack Kerouac.PURCHASE