PARIS, NEW YORK: 1982-1984: A Memoir by Kazimierz Brandys

PARIS, NEW YORK: 1982-1984: A Memoir

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A set of diaries by a Polish novelist (A Question of Reality, 1980), sequel to his acclaimed A Warsaw Diary: 1978-1981, that records his first years of political exile. Brandys and his wife flew Warsaw for New York City just before the Polish military coup of Decem bet 13, 1981. Here, he records his bemusement and bewilderment in exile, his struggles to survive financially, his feelings about old age, anti-Semitism, Soviet-style totalitarianism. New York bedazzles him with its ugliness and glory, its crime and opportunities. He lectures to Columbia Univ. students and Brooklyn immigrants; he takes the wrong bus and winds up in Harlem, fearful and contused; he worries about homelessness, dying alone, mastering English, being mugged in this city where ""all the dreams and all the nightmares are out in the open."" Every so often he travels to Paris, where he feels comfortable but listless. The common thread throughout his peregrinations is Poland, found in the fellow exiles he encounters; in the letters from Warsaw that tell of the crushing of Solidarity, the suicide of friends, the triumph of the jackboots; in vibrant memories from his youth of womens' faces briefly glimpsed, and of the two ""Antichrists"" against whom he struggled--Hitler and Stalin. As time passes, he finds Poland entering into his body, becoming ""increasingly internalized,"" its presence a new sense like hearing or taste. Images, sounds, odors of exile, mingling at random, held together by Brandys' sincerity, integrity, and beguiling friendliness. Quiet but compelling.

Pub Date: Sept. 23rd, 1988
Publisher: Random House