terça-feira, dezembro 05, 2017

A Memoir of the Warsaw Uprising, by Miron Bialoszewski

This is an extraordinary book. I bought in the wonderful bookstore Massolit in Krakow, due to the advice of an enthusiastic young employee that talked lively about lots of Polish books when I asked him what I should read to get to know something of Polish literature. I was not disappointed with this one, hope the others will be as good.

It's a violent book, extremely well written, the Warsaw Uprising in August and September 1944 narrated day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. One can almost feel one is there, in the middle of the constant bombing, running from shelter to shelter, keeping up the chores of daily life in the most extreme and unreal circumstances. Fortunately, I never experienced war, but this must be like war feels like, and it's horrible. I felt literally tired reading it, all that running from the bombs and the shelling, when short distances of a few blocks in a familiar city became almost insurmountable, when the once familiar streets became unknown territory, the rubble replacing the apartment blocks.

The frantic moment by moment rhythm of the narrative reminded of another book I read recently, about another kind of war, The City Always Wins. Both impressed me deeply. War and oppression are indeed a terrible burden of human history, and similar through every epoch. These testimonies are essential reading for anyone who cares, and the capacity of people to endure extreme circumstances never ceases to amaze me.

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