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Andrzej Szczypiorski (1924–2000)

Author of The Beautiful Mrs. Seidenman

21+ Works 839 Members 18 Reviews 1 Favorited

About the Author

Andrzej Szczypiorski is a Polish novelist and playwright who uses wit, melancholy and a rare understanding of human nature to portray the political and social realities of Eastern Europe over the last turbulent fifty years. He calls on his own experience as a fighter in the Polish Resistance, a show more participant in the Warsaw uprising of 1944, and a German prisoner of war in his novel The Beautiful Mrs. Seidenman. He combines rich character studies with historical accuracy to create a poignant look at life under Nazi rule. Self-Portrait with Woman moves the clock up several decades to look at the malaise of post-communist Poland. Once again, history's effect on individuals creates a bittersweet picture by a master storyteller. Andrzej Szczypiorski's work has been compared to that of Milan Kundera. He stands with Kundera as one of the most important writers of Eastern Europe. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Andrzej Szczypiorsk

Works by Andrzej Szczypiorski

Associated Works

Conversations with an Executioner (1972) — Foreword, some editions — 101 copies
The Dedalus Book of Polish Fantasy (1996) — Contributor — 48 copies
Diabli Wiedzą Co... — Contributor — 4 copies


Common Knowledge



It took me longer than I anticipated to become as fully immersed in this work as in the first book of his that I read, A Mass for Arras (reviewed here). But when I did I came away enormously impressed—again—with this author, a Polish Catholic who writes about Jewish/Polish relations. A man who took part in the Warsaw Uprising in WWII, was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, was an activist for Solidarity, and was imprisoned by the Polish Communist government, and who—it appeared after his death—may have collaborated with the secret police under Stalin. The book tells of the arrest and brief imprisonment of the title character. Each chapter examines in detail the life of one of the various people—Pole, Jew, Nazi, Catholic nun, and others—who had a role in her release. The stories are vividly told, occasionally philosophical, and always deeply moving. An exceptional work, highly recommended.… (more)
Gypsy_Boy | 11 other reviews | Aug 22, 2023 |
Szczypiorski (1928-2000) was, among other things, a partisan in WWII who also took part in the Warsaw Uprising. He was arrested and imprisoned at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where he survived until 1945. I mention that background by way of explaining my reaction to this book. The story is an allegory, a parable that explains how totalitarianism can arise. Three years after the plague kills a substantial number of local citizens in 1458, the town of Arras descends into a frenzy when a valuable horse dies after its owner is supposedly cursed by his Jewish neighbor. The Jews kills himself before a trial can take place but the townspeople proceed to rob, exile, and kill not only the local Jews but anyone who expresses sympathy for them, criticizes the new orthodoxy, or, finally, shows any “aberrant” behavior. I could not read this book without immediately thinking of Germany (and Italy) in the 1930s. Szczypiorski narrates this tale through the eyes of Jan, a Christian intellectual who participates in the mass hysteria only to find himself suspected of heresy. He recoils from his mentor, Father Albert, a proto-fascist demagogue, but when his other role model, David, Bishop of Utrecht, absolves all the citizens of their sins, Jan recognizes the horrifying consequences of unquestioning acceptance of authority. Beautifully told, terrifying in its reality, highly recommended.… (more)
Gypsy_Boy | 2 other reviews | Aug 22, 2023 |
I recall being profoundly underimpressed with such. The translator of such also wrote a novel about Stalin, if I'm not mistaken.
jonfaith | 2 other reviews | Feb 22, 2019 |
Reflections of loves long gone and one just beginning.
soylentgreen23 | Jul 3, 2016 |


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