WHO IS DAVID WEISER? by Pawel Huelle


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 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.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-15-196294-0
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1991


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