Synopses & Reviews
Pawel, a young businessman in debt to loan sharks, wakes up one April morning in a sea of debris, broken glass, ripped upholstery, and clothes spilling out of the wardrobe. He turns to two friends for help: Bolek, a former coal miner, now a drug dealer who lives in tasteless luxury; and Jacek, an addict, who is himself on the run through Warsaw, a washed-out city, a hostile landscape of apartment blocks, railroad stations, wild gardens, factories, and suburban wastelands.
In this novel Andrzej Stasiuk portrays a generation of Poles, freed from outdated ideologies but left feeling adrift and disconnected from family, neighbors, and friends. At once existential crime fiction and a work of art, Nine establishes Stasiuk as a major voice in European literature.
"Grim and harrowing, this novel by a deserter from the Polish army under communism paints a vivid and disturbing picture of contemporary life in Poland. Pawel, a young man in debt to loan sharks, wakes up one morning to a trashed apartment. As Pawel makes his way around Warsaw, trying to borrow money from Bolek, a drug dealer, and Jacek, his addict friend, Stasiuk chronicles their endless circuits around a Warsaw in the grip of booming cutthroat capitalism. Pawel, Jacek, Bolek and Bolek's henchman, Iron Man, are pursued by thugs and leave chaos in their wake, which has dire consequences for their women friends Beata, Syl and Zosia. Hobbled by the fast pace and gadget trappings of modern life, the characters are unable to express themselves, to connect with one another or to fully understand much of what they're doing. The seedy Warsaw criminal underground underscores Stasiuk's bleak motif, creating a tone that is unmistakably European and distinctly influenced by Poland's former communist regime. The novel, impressively translated by Johnston, offers a sobering vision of the new face of central Europe in a narrative that is at once hallucinatory, haunting and abject." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Born in Warsaw in 1960, ANDRZEJ STASIUK is the author of five novels and a collection of essays, Fado (2009). On the Road to Babadag won the prestigious Nike Award on its original publication in Poland in 2005.