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.
Though far from the most convincing reason to read literature in translation, one common side effect is learning of another culture, of its history. Within that, and a stronger motivation to read, is the discovery of stories not possible within. . .
Despite cries that literature is dead, dying, and self-replicating in the worst way, once in a while a book comes along to remind readers that there’s still a lot of surprise to be found on the printed page. To be. . .
“I was small. And my village was small, I came to know that in time. But when I was small it was big for me, so big that when I had to cross it from one end to the other,. . .
A few weeks after moving into a farm house in the Welsh countryside, Emilie, an expatriate from the Netherlands, starts to think about her uncle. This uncle tried to drown himself in a pond in front of the hotel where. . .
Think back to the last adventure- or action-type book you read. Wasn’t it cool? Didn’t it make you want to do things, like learn to shoot a crossbow, hack complicated information systems, travel to strange worlds, take on knife-wielding thugs,. . .
In Aira’s Shantytown, while we’re inside the characters’ heads for a good portion of the story, the voice we read on the page is really that of Aira himself, as he works out the plot of the book he’s writing.. . .
Noir is not an easy genre to define—or if it once was, that was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away; as a quick guess, maybe Silver Lake, Los Angeles, 1935. When two books as different as. . .
Some time ago I read this phrase: “The page is the only place in the universe God left blank for me.”
Pedro Mairal’s short novel The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra is more about these blank spaces than the usual full. . .
“What if even in the afterlife you have to know foreign languages? Since I have already suffered so much trying to speak Danish, make sure to assign me to the Polish zone . . .”
So reads a typical aphoristic “poem”. . .
If you somehow managed to overlook the 2012 translation of Andrés Neuman’s breathtaking Traveler of the Century (and woe betide all whom continue to do so), you now have two exceptional works of fiction from the young Argentine virtuoso demanding. . .