NEW WORLD AVENUE: And Vicinity by Tadeusz Konwicki


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Readers of Konwicki's remarkable Moonrise, Moonset (1987) will be prepared for this Polish writer/filmmaker's way with personal apologia. Only somewhat, though. Although the form has its Polish literary roots in Witold Gombrowicz's masterpiece, Diary, authorial confession of such a sort always seems freshly discomforting, raw. Konwicki writes each entry in his own depressed collection of disparate memories, fantasies, anecdotes, and memorials from the vantage of his Warsaw apartment on New World Avenue. There is a hint of narrative structure: his family is gone, away on a trip, and with only his cat as company, Konwicki is thrown back on thoughts of his literary non-stardom (not true, really) and his isolation--while dreaming of seductions and admitting to a remarkable fullness of peopled life. It is a book about unsatisfiableness--any writer's worst illness and torment. Konwicki is better off than most of his friends, geniuses though they are or were, in that he is alive and still writing; yet he is assailed by his eternally private silence. A very funny writer, Konwicki can make all this blague sing for the most part: even in the depth of his worst funk, he abjures self-pity in an acrobatic way that makes this and its sister confession-book oddly buoyant, pleasing works.

Pub Date: Jan. 14th, 1990
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux