To help promote the new Pawell Huelle book, The Last Supper, that’s forthcoming from Serpent’s Tail, Polish Writing has translated and posted a two-part interview (I, II) with Huelle which originally appeared in Gazeta Wyborcza:
Violetta Szostak: I’m rather nervous about this interview…
Paweł Huelle: Why should you be nervous, I should be nervous, it’s me they would like to kill…
Because of this book?
It’s not as bad as that!
I have written a contemporary novel. Maybe partly because critics were always saying that my novels are escapist, I thought: OK, now I will present you with a contemporary novel ‘par excellence’.
And references to living people? This is an approach that to different degrees has been used by many writers before me. One can give as an example ‘The Wedding’ by Wyspianski – which doesn’t mean I am comparing myself to Wyspianski!
The book is written fairly bluntly, because I think that we find ourselves in a moment of crisis, linked with postmodernism. We’ve lost our goals, our centre; we have fallen off the right track, and can’t create a new one. I didn’t originate this diagnosis, but I’m a participant in this crisis, it’s happened to me, so I am reacting and asking some questions. My book is fairly pessimistic, it doesn’t give a recipe to overcome this situation. I think that it is necessary to make oneself conscious of it, because a large number of us don’t realise that we are in such a difficult, strange situation.
The last five days of the eleventh-century Icelandic politician, writer of sagas, and famous murder victim Snorri Sturleleson (the Norwegian spelling, Snorre, is preserved in the book) make up Thorvald Steen’s most recently translated historical fiction, The Little Horse. Murdered. . .
We all know Paris, or at least we think we know it. The Eiffel Tower. The Latin Quarter. The Champs-Élysées. The touristy stuff. In Dominique Fabre’s novel, Guys Like Me, we’re shown a different side of Paris: a gray, decaying. . .
One hundred pages into Birth of a Bridge, the prize-winning novel from French writer Maylis de Kerangal, the narrator describes how starting in November, birds come to nest in the wetlands of the fictional city of Coca, California, for three. . .
At 30, the Mexican writer Valeria Luiselli is already gathering her rosebuds. Faces in the Crowd, her poised debut novel, was published by Coffee House Press, along with her Brodsky-infused essay collection, Sidewalks. The essays stand as a theoretical map. . .
Fantomas Versus the Multinational Vampires: An Attainable Utopia (narrated by Julio Cortázar) is, not disappointingly, as wild a book as its title suggests. It is a half-novella half-graphic novel story about . . . what, exactly? A European tribunal, Latin. . .
Marie NDiaye has created a tiny, psychological masterpiece with her Self-Portrait in Green. In it she explores how our private fears and insecurities can distort what we believe to be real and can cause us to sabotage our intimate relationships.. . .
Reading a genre book—whether fantasy, science fiction, crime, thriller, etc.—which begins to seem excessively, stereotypically bad, I have to make sure to ask myself: is this parodying the flaws of the genre? Usually, this questioning takes its time coming. In. . .
The Sicilian Mafia has always been a rich subject for sensational crime fiction. The Godfather, Goodfellas, and The Sopranos worked the mob’s bloody corpses and family feuds to both entertainment and artistic value. Giuseppe di Piazza’s debut novel attempts this,. . .
Antoine Volodine’s vast project (40 plus novels) of what he calls the post-exotic remains mostly untranslated, so for many of us, understanding it remains touched with mystery, whispers from those “who know,” and guesswork. That’s not to say that, were. . .
It hasn’t quite neared the pitch of the waiting-in-line-at-midnight Harry Potter days, but in small bookstores and reading circles of New York City, an aura has attended the novelist Elena Ferrante and her works. One part curiosity (Who is she?),. . .