A comic allegory about the impossibility of attaining complete freedom arises gracefully from the agreeable muddle of this 1995 novel—by a popular Polish writer who has a bit of the early Milan Kundera in him. It’s the story of married veterinarian Pawel Kohoutek’s frantic farcical efforts to conceal the presence of his importunate mistress, a freethinking intellectual whom he stows away in his family’s slaughterhouse. Kohoutek is a beguiling monster of appetite and duplicity, and Pilch builds infectious fun from flashbacks detailing the making of this posturing Don Juan, casual chats with the reader, and some wonderfully rude invective (“You brute !. . . . You explorer of cows’ asses !”). Sheer entertainment.