Dukla

Dukla

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By Andrzej Stasiuk

Translated by Bill Johnston

ISBN: 9781564786876

Publication Date: 10/25/2011

Stasiuk's masterpiece—in line with the work of Danilo Kis and countryman Bruno Schulz—is finally made available in English in a stunning translation by Bill Johnston.

Character is plot in this unusual collection (first published in Poland in 1999) from Stasiuk, the author of On the Road to Babadag. Beginning with “Midsummer, Pogórze,” a portrait of rural Polish life, these fragmented stories leave much for the reader to imagine. While Stasiuk may not be the unnamed narrator who shares memories and reveries, he offers few biographical details about this guide, only that he is unworldly, in his late 30s, and trying to “write a book about light.” The title story, more than half the book, reads like a memoir or travel essay, heavy on nostalgia. Told in three parts—with little in the way of traditional plot—this story offers a warm, often poetic portrait of the narrator’s beloved village. In part three, a spiritual search that’s implicit in the earlier sections becomes explicit, with visits to local churches and memories of childhood leading to broader philosophical speculation. Eighteen beautifully written vignettes end the collection, covering the same territory, and prove far more compelling for the reader than the beginning.

Reviews

"It’s a paean to images, and the ability of language to clarify them." KGB Bar Lit

"It is difficult to think of a stylistic equivalent to Dukla, especially in English. One can only imagine the difficulty of translator Bill Johnston’s task in retaining Stasiuk’s voice. That said, Johnston succeeded. He has brought American readers a book that will reassure cynics of the continuing potential of the novel form, and will leave them with images of small-town Polish life that won’t easily be forgotten." KGB Bar Lit

Biographical Information

Born in Warsaw in 1960, Andrzej Stasiuk is the author of five novels and a collection of essays, Fado (2009). On the Road to Babadag won the prestigious Nike Award on its original publication in Poland in 2005. 

Bill Johnston is the leading translator of Polish literature in the United States. His translation of Tadeusz Roewicz's new poems won the 2008 Found in Translation Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Poetry Award.