RONDO by Kazimierz Brandys


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Brandys (A Warsaw Diary, Paris/New York) is a grand old man of Polish letters, and this is put forward as one of his most characteristic works--a novel history and ideas with a subtext of passion and artifice. A young Warsaw intellectual, Tom, narrates. He's faced after the war with an investigation into his role in the Resistance--particularly his leadership of a group called Rondo, which walked a fine line between action and reaction in light of the Stalinist reality to come. But Rondo, it turns out, was simply Tom's fabrication, a way to impress actress Tola his lover, whose attention span in love was finite to say the least. Yet accept something as fact, and fact of course it will become: Tom's charade takes on flesh and danger during a time when even fiction has a way of becoming news. Brandys writes especially well here of the theater, its force in the imagination of the intelligentsia, the warps and wefts of self-dramatization it can spawn. There is piquant philosophizing aplenty too--with Tom's creation of a self spawning all sorts of interesting existential games. But the novel is repetitiously slow, old-fashioned in style, and a touch wheezy--all of which is helped not at all by Anders' formal English.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1989
ISBN: 1609450043
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux