GIVE US THIS DAY by Janusz Glowacki


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A short fictional narrative, told by a shipyard worker, of the 1980 strike in Gdansk, Poland, that brought about the rise of the Solidarity movement. The tale-teller is an unlikely striker: newly widowed, he supports his old parents as well as several young children. Besides, his eye has lately been caught by an attractive female fellow-worker. . . who's not unreceptive. So the last thing this narrator would want to do, you would think, is lock himself behind the gates of the Lenin Shipyard, risking even possible death. Nonetheless, though in the past he has supplemented his wages by confiding to management about other workers, the narrator now finds that events are sweeping him up and stirring him: ""And we all began singing, 'Poland is not yet lost.' Dizzy, breathless, choking with tears. Earnestly, passionately we sang on, desirous of improvement in the world in general and socialism in particular. The sun came out as if in sympathy, and sent its rays down on us full blast."" There are portraits of ""Walrus""--Lech Walesa--and other strike leaders; everyone, in so consciously Catholic a society, is acutely aware that someone might be a Judas--but who? And though this simple chronicle of bravery lacks the fictional tension or invention of dissident writers like Tadeusz Konwicki, it's an interesting fictionalized version of a perilous and historical moment.

Pub Date: Jan. 3rd, 1984
Publisher: St. Martin's