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House of Day, House of Night (1998)
Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0810118920, Paperback)
The English translation of the prize-winning international bestseller
Nowa Ruda is a small town in Silesia, an area that has been a part of Poland, Germany, and the former Czechoslovakia in the past. When the narrator moves into the area, she and discovers everyone-and everything-has its own story. With the help of Marta, her enigmatic neighbor, the narrator accumulates these stories, tracing the history of Nowa Ruda from the founding of the town to the lives of its saints, from the caller who wins the radio quiz every day to the tale of the man who causes international tension when he dies on the border, one leg on the Polish side, the other on the Czech side. Each of the stories represents a brick and they interlock to reveal the immense monument that is the town. What emerges is the message that the history of any place--no matter how humble--is limitless, that by describing or digging at the roots of a life, a house, or a neighborhood, one can see all the connections, not only with one's self and one's dreams but also with all of the universe.
Richly imagined, weaving in anecdote with recipes and gossip, Tokarczuk's novel is an epic of a small place. Since its original publication in 1998 it has remained a bestseller in Poland. House of Day, House of Night is the English-language debut of one of Europe's best young writers.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:05 -0400)
"The town of Nowa Ruda and its surrounding countryside is a place of shifting identities. Polish now, it has been German, Czech and Austro-Hungarian among other nationalities in the past. Here, at the heart of Europe, where borders move and languages and their speakers come and go, ordinary lives are not as simple as they appear. When the narrator and her husband settle in the area, she soon discovers that the locals all have their secrets. With the help of Marta, her enigmatic elderly neighbour, she gathers their stories, moving back and forth in time and between truth and myth, disentangling the events of their days from the dreams of their nights." "A farmer is tormented by a mournful bird inside him that struggles to be free; a bank clerk sets out to find the owner of the voice that declares love to her in her dreams; the gentle classics scholar grapples with his monthly metamorphosis into a werewolf; and a monk comes to terms with his own sexual ambiguity. Sprinkled between these and other stories are entries from a website that collects people's dreams, and recipes for the many varieties of local mushrooms, from sweet puffball dessert to stuffed amanitas (for those who dare)."--BOOK JACKET.
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