Literature: New Polish prose

(This is a text I translated from Polish to English.)

New Polish prose- a window for an aching soul

A dark cloud is hanging over Polish literature. It is a rebellion of young artists. It doesn’t seem that there will be any new art revolution in Polish prose, no postmodernism. If you look at what is actually happening, this phenomenon has a very traditional character- new writers do not look for new means of expression but concentrate on current matters.

Their narratives are traditional. It seems like they do not want to experiment with the language but just want to be understood properly by their readers. They want to describe the surrounding world first and only then consider if the language they use is appropriate. When Slawomir Shuty tries to write informally, he doesn’t research what style Ryszard Szubert used 30 years ago in his novel “Trenta Tre”, it wouldn’t even cross his mind.

New writers, when they are not copying western popular literature and don’t write pulp fiction (which is entertaining and necessary for the health of literature), are analyzingthe world with passion and evaluate the changes that happened in our country in recent years. After many years of the critics crying out of it, we finally have the literature which describes the world we live in. It is being created now, but no one really appreciates it. It might be because people can see that young writers are annoyed and write about their anger. Their frustration, helplessness and discouragement with everything that surrounds them is revealed. And that is why literature exists, it’s a window for an aching soul.

In the final episode of “Gnoj”(“Muck”) a young man’s house is flooded by a cesspool, which can be considered a metaphorical image of the revenge a hopeless, suffering young boy takes on his oppressive family. It could also have a broader meaning. Is the house just a building or is it his own home which deserves an infamous end like the Biblical Sodom and Gomorrah?

Another character of Shut’s novel “Zwal”(“Pile”) takes imaginary revenge on his boss, forcing her to crawl on the floor at his feet. He enjoyed seeing her humiliation. Similarly, one of the characters of Dawid Bankowski’s novel imagines killing his oppressive boss- the manager of a large chain of fast food shops.

“Gangrene” a novel by Dawid Kornag which is due to be published soon is like a punch in the face. You can say one thing about this book – it is a superbly written abomination. The main character is incredibly lonely, he hates the world he lives in. His life is miserable and now he seeks revenge.

Kornag’s startling novel shows how an average person can turn into a monster in order to overcome humiliation or feel superior to other people.

The question remains unanswered: Is the world really that bad?

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