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A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True…
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A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True (2009)

by Brigid Pasulka

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» See also 7 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
An elegant structure: two stories, interleaving chapters, one story a grandmother surviving WWII and Cold War, another of her granddaughter surviving end of USSR. Anielica's story progresses forward from the opening months of the Nazi invasion of Poland, not only her personal story but that of her village and the villagers she loves. The second story expands forward and back from Baba Jaga's arrival in Krakow after the fall of the Wall, to live with her Aunt. In this way, events move ahead while memories and conversations between relatives reach back, until the omitted middle is reached by each storyline. Part of the novel's charm is in seeing characters from one storyline poke their heads up in the other; it's not always as easy to spot as might be thought.

Anielica's village story is told in third person, like a fairy tale. Baba Jaga's, in first person as a Bildungsroman. Together, they tell the story of a modern Poland, and it appears to be a tale familiar to generations: resist oppression, wrest what can be gotten from meagre opportunity, find joy with those close, and always anticipate disappointment. It's not unusual, found in other novels and so many national histories. It works in Pasulka's distinctly Polish telling, the way it spools out from villages and cities, from a Polish persistence built over centuries of hardship. Pasulka provides a glimpse of a national identity and it feels genuine. ( )
1 vote elenchus | Mar 10, 2019 |
The story is split between two different time periods. I had a very hard time staying interested in the modern half of the story. It was a struggle to finish. I loved the character of Pigeon. I also loved the picture of Poland during World War II, but felt like the two stories did not mesh well.

“I’m a terrible cook, and not in the endearing way the girls my age insist they are set up they appear liberated.”

“And this is the question, the question that wedges itself into the small cracks of his politeness and splits him wide open.” ( )
1 vote | bookworm12 | Jan 10, 2019 |
I enjoyed this heartbreaking slice of life novel that went back & forth in time. Characters felt like family they were so real! ( )
  kimpiddington | Oct 17, 2013 |
A beautiful story about Poland during WWII and now. The story of today is told by Baba Yaga, who just moved to the city; the WWII story tells the story of her grandmother in a small town. Both stories are quite touching and funny, with colorful characters. I enjoyed reading both stories, although there were points in the story where one was more interesting than the other. All in all, I would definitely recommend this book! ( )
  SimoneA | May 14, 2012 |
not that long time ago, really, but seems that way: as generations change, things remain in the past, to spare the children of all the gruesome details, of the suffering. however, bad things also contain the zest of life, and knowing the past can help you understand and appreciate life, and yourself even more.

it was fun, finding polish and yiddish words sprinkled all over the book, like currents, giving it a just right tinge of foreign flavour. loved that. ( )
1 vote flydodofly | Oct 23, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Fortunately Pasulka, an American descendant of Polish immigrants, has charms of her own — appealing characters and keen observations save this novel from derivative sentimentality.
 
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Epigraph
Let me gaze once more on Krakow, at her walls, where every brick and every stone is dear to me. -- Pope John Paul II on the Krakow Błonia, June 10, 1979
Dedication
For Anna and Anita, without whom my Krakow would not exist
First words
The pigeon was not one to sit around and pine, and so the day after he saw the beautiful Anielica Hetmańska up on Old Baldy Hill, he went to talk to her father.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0547055072, Hardcover)

The novel opens on the eve of World War II. In the mountain village of Half-Village, a young man nicknamed the Pigeon, under the approving eyes of the entire village, courts the beautiful Anielica Hetmanska. But the war's arrival wreaks havoc in all their lives and delays their marriage for six long years. Nearly fifty years later, their granddaughter, Beata, leaves Half-Village for Krakow, the place where her grandparents lived as newlyweds after the war and the setting of her grandmother's most magical stories. Beata yearns to find her own place in this new city, one that is very different from her imagination and the past. Her first person insight into a country on the cusp of change--and the human toll of Poland's rapid-fire embrace of capitalism--transports readers to another world. When two unexpected events occur, one undeniably tragic, and the other a kind of miracle, Beata is given a fresh glimpse at her family's and her country's, history and a vision of her own essential role in the New Poland. With the effortless, accomplished grace of a gifted storyteller, Pasulka weaves together the two strands of her story, re-imagining half a century of Polish history through the legacy of one profound love affair--that of the Pigeon and Anielica--which readers won't soon forget.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:11 -0400)

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"Mia Montrose, archaeological linguist, has discovered that the Black Madonna is a code used by secret societies throughout time for the lost key to an ancient power source: the Sphere of Amenti. Kali, inter-dimensional Queen of the Anunnaki -now fully merged with the youngest Dragon Queen, Tamar Devere - has less than a year to rehabilitate her Fallen kindred who desire inter-galactic domination. Ashlee Granville-Devere, and the Dragon Queens must pool their talents to open the twelve Stations of the Signet Grid and unlock the Halls of Amenti lest the Fallen succeed in using time-travel technologies to destroy humanity. From the ancient past to the distant future, from Montsg ur to the way-stations of the universe, from the Underworld of the Kali Rift to the Otherworld of the Ranna Time Flow - the inter-time war must be won for the sake of the future."--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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