Books by Pawel Huelle

Pawel Huelle is a writer and columnist for Gazeta Wyborcza. His fiction draws on autobiographical elements and especially pays homage to his hometown of Gdansk. He is the author of two collections of short stories and two novels, one of which David Weiser


MERCEDES-BENZ by Pawel Huelle
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 2006

"Colorful setting and trenchant social commentary, but a cul-de-sac plot."
Playful postmodernism Central European-style—entertainment for a decidedly select demographic: automobile aficionados desperate for the inside skinny on Poland's recent past. Read full book review >
MOVING HOUSE by Pawel Huelle
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 1, 1995

From acclaimed Polish writer Huelle (Who Is David Weiser?, 1992), poignantly beautiful stories that limn memories and loss with a subtly nuanced critique of totalitarianism. Set mostly in Gdansk, these seven tales observe the lingering consequences of past events on a country and a family. In ``The Table,'' a boy records the growing tensions between his parents provoked by a table given to his father by a German refugee returning home at the end of WW II: His mother cannot forgive the Germans, and his father cannot forgive the Russians. A new table made under almost miraculous circumstances—Huelle often relies on a quiet, less ebullient, European kind of magic realism—restores family peace as well as revealing a world richer than the drab present. The two most notable stories, explorations of faith and the mystery of life, are ``Snails, Puddles, Rain'' and ``Uncle Henryk,'' both narrated by an imaginative youngster. In the first, while helping his unemployed engineer-father, he witnesses snails climbing a rock ``to catch the voices of the dead'' and begins to let go of his obsession with death and decay. The second shows the narrator, now older, getting lost while skiing with an uncle who has a tragic past and finding shelter in a village that doesn't exist. The title story evokes the past as a youth whose family is about to move meets an old woman who plays Wagner for him; she annoys his mother, but for the narrator ``it was all strange and entrancing and beautiful, like the park in the old photograph.'' In the most overtly political story, ``In Dublin's Fair City,'' a young man mourns his dead grandfather, who had secretly built a submarine in which he hoped to escape to the West. Quiet but powerful journeys of the spirit. Read full book review >
WHO IS DAVID WEISER? by Pawel Huelle
Released: Jan. 1, 1992

Polish writer Huelle's first novel is set in Gdansk, early in the Fifties, and is narrated by a schoolboy who, along with his pals, was a gape-mouthed observer of the extraordinary powers of a mysterious Jewish boy, David Weiser. Weiser seems to be able to levitate, to communicate with the large cats in the zoo, to know everything. He has unearthed old weapons from the war and distributes them to the local boys for their games. With a Polish girl, Elka, he lies on his back on runways and lets the giant Ilyushin 14s land above him, their wheels just feet away as they come in. And finally, also with Elka, Weiser sets off fabulous pyrotechnic displays from an old munitions dump he alone knows about. It is after one of these displays, when Weiser and Elka disappear forever, that an interrogation ensues, involving the spectator-boys. The schoolmaster and the local militia take the most mendaciously and cruelly literal approach—but the kids know mystery when they see it, and jealously guard the only half-self- acknowledged understanding that Weiser must have been some kind of spiritual force and his disappearance an apotheosis. Huelle slows down and teases the story unnecessarily—it is too slender a reed for all the manipulations he subjects it to—but he is an interesting writer with a good visual sense; postwar Gdansk is here made both magical and mean in equally convincing parts. Read full book review >