A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True by Brigid Pasulka

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Synopsis

On the eve of World War II, in a place called Half-Village, a young man nicknamed the Pigeon falls in love with a girl fabled for her angelic looks. To court Anielica Hetmanská he offers up his "golden hands" to transform her family’s modest hut into a beautiful home, thereby building his way into her heart.   Then war arrives to cut short their courtship, delay their marriage, and wreak havoc in all their lives, even sending the young lovers far from home to the promise of a new life in Kraków.
Nearly fifty years later, their granddaughter, Beata, repeats their postwar journey, seeking a new life in the fairy-tale city of her grandmother’s stories. But when she arrives in Kraków, instead of the whispered prosperity of the New Poland, she discovers a city caught between its future and its past, and full of frustrated youths. Taken in by her toughtalking cousin Irena and Irena’s glamorous daughter Magda, Beata struggles to find her own place in 1990s Kraków and in the constellation of Irena and Magda’s fierce love. But unexpected events-- tragedies and miracles-- can change lives and open eyes. And Beata may just find a new way of seeing her family's and her country's history-- as well as a vision for her own role in the New Poland.   Whimsical, wise, beautiful, magical, and sometimes even heartbreaking, A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True weaves together two remarkable stories, reimagining half a century of Polish history through the legacy of one unforgettable love affair.
 

About Brigid Pasulka

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BRIGID PASULKA, the descendant of Polish immigrants, first arrived in Kraków in the early nineties, with no contacts, no knowledge of the language, and only a vague idea of Polish culture. She quickly fell in love with the place, learned Polish, and decided to live there for one year. She currently teaches English at a magnet high school in her native Chicago, and is still a frequent visitor to Kraków. An award-winning short story writer, this is her first novel.
 
Published August 1, 2009 by Mariner Books. 365 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True

Kirkus Reviews

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A debut about Poland from a high-school teacher living in Chicago.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of A Long, Long Time Ago and Ess...

Publishers Weekly

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Pasulka’s delightful debut braids together two tales of old and new Poland. The old is the fairy tale love story of the Pigeon, a young man so entranced by village beauty Anielica that he bui

Apr 06 2009 | Read Full Review of A Long, Long Time Ago and Ess...

AV Club

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It'd be unwise to judge this book by its twee cover.

Aug 06 2009 | Read Full Review of A Long, Long Time Ago and Ess...

The American Book Center Blog

Tags: andree walch, baba yaga, brigid pasulka, Fiction, love story, poland, You Review, You Review Elite.

Aug 05 2009 | Read Full Review of A Long, Long Time Ago and Ess...

Persephone Magazine

In a tiny village in Poland, a young man begins his courtship of a beautiful girl named Anielica by renovating her family’s home.

Aug 31 2012 | Read Full Review of A Long, Long Time Ago and Ess...

Reader Rating for A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True
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