MOONRISE, MOONSET by Tadeusz Konwicki


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In one of contemporary literature's more dour, candid accounts of a writer's melancholy blockage, Konwicki (The Polish Complex, A Minor Apocalypse) chronicles a personally and artistically fallow patch (around 1980) that interestingly coordinated with the post-euphoria of Solidarity's rise in Poland at the same time. But Konwicki, well-known for his mordancy, doesn't look for particular social/political scapegoats: his trials have been private (throat cancer) and literary (numerous scores are settled here, an especially fascinating one with fellow Pole Stanislaw Lem, another with ex-countryman Czeslaw Milosz). Thrown in are chunks of books not finished or even much started; but as entertaining as Konwicki's spleen is, the humor that pumps from it is very bleak indeed: ""How to write? Why write? For Whom am I writing? To remain active, to be with people who I wish meant nothing to me but who somehow hopelessly do. To deceive myself. To delude my smart self with my stupid one."" But no Central European work, no matter how privately depressed, avoids its larger context--and as this journal of blockage ends, Konwicki (famous in Warsaw for both his novels and Films, neither of which he seems to feel he'll ever commit again) is called down to central police headquarters to sign a loyalty oath. So what's gone before may be self-indulgent, surely, but never unserious; no writing--even writing about not writing--ever is, to those who fear it so.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1987
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux