“The books we tend to publish, and the ones I like personally, seem to confront what I think is a universal question: How do you engage with a world that you can’t change?” says Edward Van Lanen, the editor of Open Book’s translation of the acclaimed Polish author Jerzy Pilch’s 1997 classic, A Thousand Peaceful Cities, a somehow-rollicking tale of conspiracy and assassination attempts set in post-Stalinist Communist Poland in the late 1960s. The novel revolves around the amorous and apolitical teenager Jerzyk, who is unwittingly drawn into a plot—concocted by his father and his father’s friend, the delightfully unhinged Mr. Tr?ba—to assassinate the Polish head of state. “If laughter actually is the best medicine, fortunate readers of this wonderful novel will surely enjoy perfect health for the rest of their days,” said the Kirkus starred review. “Pilch’s writing, all of it, just jumps off of the page,” says Van Lanen. “It’s witty, it’s touching; his sentences have so much life, there’s a real joy in his writing…who doesn’t love a story about a drunken plot to assassinate a communist despot with a bow and arrow?”
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A Thousand Peaceful Cities
Jerzy Pilch; translated by David Frick
Open Letter / July / 9781934824276 / $14.95 paperback
This book was featured in the Kirkus Best of 2010