A review, and links to other information about and reviews of Fado by Andrzej Stasiuk. Andrzej Stasiuk is one of the most successful and internationally acclaimed contemporary Galician Tales, one of several works available in English (others include Nine, Dukla, Fado, and On the Road to Babadag), conveys an impression of. A fado is a plaintive song of yearning for a person or place that perhaps never was OR the natural title for Andrzej Stasiuk’s delicate, deeply-shadowed book of .
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Andrzei Stasiuk is an award-wining Polish writer, poet, and journalist who over the past ten years has achieved an international reputation for his writing outside of his native Poland, particularly in Germany.
Bookslut | Fado by Andrzej Stasiuk
His first book, published in by Wydawnictwo Czarne, a small press run by him and his wife, was a collection of short stories called The Walls of Hebron and based on the year and half he spent in prison for refusing to serve in the army.
This was followed by a collection of poetry in called Love and Non-Love Poems and then in he published White Ravenan adventure story. So much then for the sneer dado heard that literary self-publishing is merely a form of vanity press. White RavenTales of Galiciaand Nineanother award winning book, are the only books currently available in English, along with his latest, Fado.
In other words, fado is a kind of Andfzej blues. What an appropriate a title then to apply to a collection of essays about the sad lamentable history and forgotten fdo and highways actually dusty roads is more accurate of Central and Eastern Europe.
It is more the spirit of On the Road that imbues Fado. Stasiuk’s essays in fact twist and turn, move back and forth through memory and time and reflect on the nature of time and memory like a car and move through various historical, mental, and natural landscapes; landscapes that were either ignored, unknown, or forsaken by the West until the fall of communism.
How timely it is then that the English translation of Fado is now available for us, the beginning of November of this year November 9 to be exact being the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the hasty collapse of the Soviet Bloc.
The towns and villages of rural Central and Eastern Europe are unknown places and perhaps even unknowable to themselves according to Stasiuk, but it is his mission to make them known or at least understandable. Both places were hijacked by politics, history, and their own inward looking rural traditions from the mainstream of Western European traditions, thus they were considered unsophisticated places by the cultural and intellectual elites of the West and were not worth a visit, much less places to write about.
The essays collected in Fado counter stasuuk view by taking seriously the history and landscape of this neglected part of Europe.
The posturing and bad behavior of some young rural Europeans is a type of identity crisis created by easy access to the false imported gods of consumerism and freedom and a neglect of the past. Stasiuk, in other words, distrusts imported Western modernity or at the very least is skeptical of it as a straightforward blessing for this region of the world.
He presents a more nuanced view.
Stasiuk uses a variety of approaches to talk about his beloved rural Eastern Europe but his most effective technique is his use of the andraej of the travel writer; what he sees and experiences is as important as what he thinks or analyses and he himself is as much a character in the landscape as the people and places he observes. The farm is also a place where “nothing was wasted” and very little trash was created compared to the convenient and crass modern world.
The tone of the essays varies depending on the topic. Stasiuk can be sardonic and wry when writing about his teenage daughter or he can be shrewd and analytical when talking about his own memory or he can be elegiac when writing about the small forgotten World War I cemeteries that dot the back roads of Southern Poland, which was once part of the former Austrian-Hungarian Empire.
Stasiuk also has a thing for odors, which should not come as a big surprise since smell is said to be wtasiuk most powerful sense for evoking memory. Shepherds all over Eastern and Central Europe smell the same: The bus itself has an aroma of dark tobacco.
There is also a passion and attraction for the Mediterranean, which it seems, he shares with other writers from the East. Mediterranean culture seems to have a particular hold on the imagination of Eastern European writers.
Stasiuk as a travel writer brings us news from the forgotten corners of Central and Eastern Europe. He does this by wearing many hats; he is a contemporary historian, a journalist, staisuk an evocative poet with a nose — pardon the pun — for the telling detail and revealing incident. Adam McKay’s gonzo Dick Cheney biopic satire, Vice, won’t be compared to Shakespeare, but it shares the Bard’s disinterest in supervillains’ motivations.
Fado by Andrzej Stasiuk – PopMatters
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Books Fado by Andrzej Stasiuk. Moving back and forth through memory and time, these essays act like a vehicle moving through historical, mental and natural landscapes.
Dalkey Archieve Press Price: Trade Paperback Publication date: The 80 Best Books of The authors’ whose works we share with you in PopMatters’ 80 Best Books of — from a couple of notable reissues to a number of excellent debuts — poignantly capture how the political is deeply personal, and xndrzej personal is undeniably, and beautifully, universal.
Losses, Journeys, and Ascensions: That’s a good thing.
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