About the Author
(1934–1969) was born in Warsaw, the only child of parents who divorced when he was three. He was kicked out of high school and worked a series of menial jobs. While a truck driver, he began to write articles for a local newspaper, and soon after joined the crusading magazine Po Prostu
as the editor of the literary section. In 1956, his short story collection A First Step in the Clouds
won him immediate acclaim. It was followed by The Eighth Day of the Week
, and two other novels, The Graveyard
and Next Stop—Paradise
. But when publishers refused to bring out his books, Hłasko traveled to Paris and published them in the émigré journal Kultura
. It was a fateful decision: the Polish authorities gave him the choice of returning home and renouncing his work or staying abroad forever. He chose the latter, and spent the rest of his life in Western Europe, Israel, and the United States. He developed a reputation as a hard drinker and brawler, and was often in and out of prisons and psychiatric clinics. In 1966, Roman Polanski brought Hłasko to Hollywood to work as a screenwriter, but while there, he got into a fight with the composer Krzysztof Komeda, who died from his injuries a few days later. Six months afterward, Hłasko died from a fatal mixture of alcohol and sleeping pills. He was thirty-five years old and the author of ten novels, several collections of short stories and essays, and a memoir.
Norbert Guterman (1900–1984) also translated Hłasko’s The Eighth Day of the Week and Next Stop—Paradise.
James Sallis is the author of Drive and the Lew Griffin series of crime novels, among many other books.