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Transparency (Polish Literature)by Marek Bienczyk
Synopses & Reviews
Milan Kundera on Marek Bieńczyk's Transparency: "The subject of transparency has always interested me; in The Art of the Novel I discussed it as one of the key words in my personal lexicon. Marek Bieńczyk is right to give it an entire book of its own: transparency remains one of the foundational concepts of today's social imaginary, and its role never ceases to grow. These lovely pages, in which the essay brushes up against fiction, offer us more than an historical and philosophical study, but a truly existential, and thus novelistic, investigation of transparency. It's a delight." Drawing on all his resources as a novelist, cultural critic, and scholar, Marek Bieńczyk peels away the layers of our contemporary obsession with "transparency," skipping across centuries and continents to piece together the genesis of our fears of deception and overexposure.
"For the casual reader of fiction, this blend of novel and essay from Bienczyk (Tworki) will seem anything but. Narrated by a 'we' variously encompassing the reader, the narrator's partner, Olga, and Bienczyk himself, it initially examines transparency in political terms, only to branch off into such different avenues as philosophy, history, linguistics, and literature. A brief fictive storyline toward the beginning, 'Gabriel and Snow,' situates the book as a series of short stories, an impression quickly shattered as the author instead chooses to trawl through such varied cultural touchstones as the Crystal Palace, Edward Hopper, Abbey Road, and McDonald's. In the midst of all this, Jean-Jacques Rousseau becomes a familiar character. Only towards the end does a clear narrative off-handedly resume, as Olga receives her own named section, a place at center stage soon disrupted by that irritating 'we'. By that point, even Bienczyk feels frustrated by his inconclusive style, while fiction readers will be hungry for more story and philosophically inclined ones yearning to debate him on the many thorny points raised. Bienczyk's obvious linguistic and intellectual prowess intrigues, raises difficult questions, and gifts a brand-new reading list to anyone willing to tackle it. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Highly poignant, and transcending the genres of criticism, personal essay, and the metaphysical novel, Transparency is a gorgeous revelation--about our never-ending need for revelation.
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