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  1. says:

    This masterful work set in immediately pre marshal law Poland paints a grim picture of state the country and its inhabitants over coated with a pleasantly dark humour I first visited Poland in 1990 and while the shortages by then were nothing like a decade before the decay misery and material shortages were all too visible as were the apathy and cynicism described by character in the book The central character Eugene Hinks is an out of work former lavatory attendant with a university degree who has fled the poverty of west and managed to get a job teaching English in Poland through the British Council He doesn't like where he's come from and doesn't like where he is much Same circus different clowns but the clowns are competing to run the circus and the audience are not laughing At one point Hinks is trying to sort out a problem with his work visa and Hinks background is unfathomable to the official So you are a victim of capitalist economics to which Hicks replies Aren't we all Giving up on Hicks class status and reason for him being in Poland the official advises drink and fuck There is nothing else for foreigners to do here anyway But you have been here for a year already so you know that Written in a Hinks diary like form the book explores the absurdities of daily life in the declining days of the PRL observes the corruption of political life of Solidarnosc of society and at the same time the ability of people to live in a parallel world making the best of what they have and drinking to excess especially during prohibition Drunks freeze to the pavement artists compete in the censorship stakes snow Lenins are constructed by true believers spies spy and buying a railway ticket is an endurance test There is something warmly human about this at time Kafkaesue tale which captures I think a not entirely inaccurate portrait of the time As a Colonel explains to Hinks on a crowded train The fact is that professional soldiers officers like myself sympathise with many of the aims of Solidarnosc We want the things they want And we all know there is a lot wrong with this place But Solidarnosc was riddled with trouble makers and opportunists in fact just like the Party They were about as bad as each other worms burrowing into the body of the nation We had to clear the whole lot out and start again on our terms A great work by an English author with a good feel for Poland


  2. says:

    Fantastic read


  3. says:

    Eugene Hinks is a lavatory attendant in England in the mid 70s when he first goes to Poland and he is there again in 1980 and 1981 during the Solidarnosc This novel is the collected writings of Eugene Hinks composed during these latter years a period when he taught English at university in Krakow and Janowice Eugene Hinks’ writings are preceded by an introduction from a Polish academic who believes Hinks’ description of the time from his perspective of an embedded Westerner lends another facet to a cubist style portrait of Poland The novel closes with an afterword from the same academic which includes a letter from the Polish woman—Maria—whom Hinks had meant to marry and remove from Poland after Jaruzelski had imposed martial law and disbanded both the Party and Solidarnosc at the close of 1981The novel’s frame—especially considering the solemn academese of the Prof Dr S Mroz of the Jagiellanonian University of Krakow which alludes also to Hinks’ writings having already been collected and printed by a German scholar—suggests a high brow pastiche a la Borges or Nabokov It would appear that the ostensible journal jottings of an English language teacher in Krakow and Janowice who “sported shoulder length hair a drooping mustache – in winter a black beard – bell bottom trousers a bluegrey RAF greatcoat and was accompanied everywhere by an enormous old guitar”—are going to be a humorous account of a sort of sad sack scholar Instead but no less effective in the long run these jottings are earnest reportage by turns somber bemused exasperated objective affectionate and paranoid There is humor throughout the volatile shift in tones like a steady back beat but it is gallows humor dark and grimIn episodes that are roughly chronological Hinks covers events as he experiences them from October 1980 to December 1981 The chaotic exhilaration of the Solidarnosc defying the party leads to a mix of emotions in the Polish people all of them tamped down by the prospect of Soviet reprisal As the Solidarnosc continues to prevail without reprisal from the Party or the Soviets there should be some elation but the life of the average Pole is still unaffected; he or she is still a worm still enduring a dreary daily round of long ueues for short supplies By mid 1981 Hinks is aware of plotki rumor gossip that the Party has emptied the jails of 23000 criminals preparation it is said for the military to fill them with political dissidents ie members of SolidarnoscWhen it does come to pass that the Polish military enacts a coup d’état—“Poland invades itself” as Hinks sardonically puts it—Hinks has already fled to England unsure he will be able to survive under the new Jaruzelski regime He does write of returning at least once to Poland during the period of martial law but his story appears to end with Hinks neither here nor there neither in England or Poland inhabiting instead desperate dreams of some sort of transcendence a perfection In 1999 Prof Dr S Mroz resurrects Hinks—about whom there is no information after the mid 80s—and though Hinks is no longer mortal he continues to exist perfectly in this narrativeThis short episodic novel does a splendid job of capturing in a varied and panoramic fashion the crazy uilt of experiences available not only to Hinks but to all Poles during this time Hinks early on compares George Orwell Homage to Catalonia to John Reed Ten Days That Shook the World and he concludes that he is like Orwell unable to clearly see the larger social and political picture for all the immediate chaos which in turn makes him distrust the hyperbolic ability of Reed to instantly understand and grasp the significance of events as they unfoldedIn short “chapters” Hinks sometimes employs an impressionistic style with a series of terse sentences and stand alone phrases; other chapters are in a narrative mode with dialog and authorial reflection Episodes include the obligatory ueueing encounters with bureaucrats Solidarnosc takeover of the University’s English department trainloads of Soviet tanks rolling past a melted dedicatory statue of Lenin made of snow rampant anti Semitism embodied in the wafer thin pastille of human soap the role of the censor to make artists feel themselves important rampant alcoholism in workers and poets transcriptions of BBC broadcasts for Solidarnosc agents the earnest striving of Solidarnosc bigwigs in Gdansk Polish cinema and Wajda’s Man of Marble and Man of Steel and a mentally retarded child’s triumphant descent on a playground slide outside Hinks’ housing block Woven throughout and especially in the last third of the book is a very muted love story with fellow teacher art restoration expert Maria The sad failure of these two to connect despite Hinks’ efforts betrays the failure of the West to understand and act appropriately—politically and humanely—with Poland itselfMy summative blurb This is a well told well shaped novel with personal and political resonances that continue to echo even after the book is closed


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Burning Worm

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Historical account of the events outlined here Read One person Burning Worm September edition | Open Burning Worm This edition published in September by IMPress The Physical Object Format Paperback Number of pages Dimensions x x inches Weight ounces ID Numbers Open Library OLM ISBN ISBN Library Thing Goodreads Lists containing this Book Next to read from Peter Willoughby; Loading Related Books Burning Worm September edition | Open Burning Worm by Carl Tighe unknown edition This edition doesn't have a description yet Can you add one? Bristleworm Sting Symptoms Pain Redness burning sensation redness swelling and; a rash The spines do not have any associated venom producing cells so there is no fear of additional venom being released with removal of the spines What Is the Treatment for Bristleworm Stings? Treatment for a bristleworm sting includes the following Remove bristle.