Self-Portrait With Woman by Andrzej Szczypiorski

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Synopsis

A Warsaw sociologist is summoned to Geneva to participate in an oral-history project about the collapse of Eastern European communism and resolves to tell his own story through a gallery of portraits of the many women he has loved. These reminiscences emerge against the broader canvas of circumstances and events that have shaped the past sixty years of Poland's turbulent, tragic history. Soon he finds himself inexorably drawn to his interrogator from the "free" world, the chronicler of his life, the keeper of his secrets, and his heart's last hope for redemptive love. Self-Portrait with Woman is at once a haunting and lyrical portrait of a man, of a country, and of the twilight years of an era.
 

About Andrzej Szczypiorski

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Andrzej Szczypiorski is a Polish novelist and playwright who uses wit, melancholy and a rare understanding of human nature to portray the political and social realities of Eastern Europe over the last turbulent fifty years. He calls on his own experience as a fighter in the Polish Resistance, a participant in the Warsaw uprising of 1944, and a German prisoner of war in his novel The Beautiful Mrs. Seidenman. He combines rich character studies with historical accuracy to create a poignant look at life under Nazi rule. Self-Portrait with Woman moves the clock up several decades to look at the malaise of post-communist Poland. Once again, history's effect on individuals creates a bittersweet picture by a master storyteller. Andrzej Szczypiorski's work has been compared to that of Milan Kundera. He stands with Kundera as one of the most important writers of Eastern Europe.
 
Published January 1, 1996 by Grove Pr. 252 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

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As their ``interview'' proceeds, Kamil tells her the story of his life in terms of his relationships--innocent and exploitative, romantic and bluntly carnal--with ``women [who] didn't save themselves for the future, because no one believe[d] in any kind of future.'' The wider context is only thin...

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Amid the spiritual exhaustion of post-communist Poland, Szczpiorski's everyman Polish hero, Kamil, sums up and relives all his romances in a last-ditch effort to find redemption.

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