BRIGID PASULKA, the descendant of Polish immigrants, first arrived in Krakow 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 now teaches English at a Chicago high school.
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 builds her family a house to prove his devotion. When war comes to Poland, the Pigeon works for the resistance, guarding the town and his Jewish sister-in-law with creativity and bravery. After the war, he and Anielica get engaged and the Pigeon brings his family to Krakow, but the fabled promises of the golden city and the glories of communism prove hollow. The new tale is about Anielica and the Pigeon's granddaughter, Beata, whose plainness has earned her the nickname Baba Yaga. Now living in a much-changed Krakow, Beata is a bar girl with no hopes of love or plans for the future. When tragedy strikes and Beata uncovers family secrets, she brings together the old and new to create her own bright future. Pasulka creates a world that's magical despite the absence of magical happenings, and where Poland's history is bound up in one family's story. (Aug.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Winner of the PEN/Hemingway Prize for Fiction "In this
life-affirming novel of past and present, Brigid Pasulka twines the
bright colors of fable with the subtler tones of disillusionment,
survival, and rebirth--incarnating not only her characters and
their lives, but Poland itself. Rarely does a novel succeed so well
in evoking place and history, especially with a story as winning as
this one. A marvelous debut."
--Nicole Mones, author of The Last Chinese Chef and Lost in Translation "Two lives, a grandmother's and her granddaughter's, are knit together in a finely wrought tapestry that illuminates an inheritance of a less familiar kind. At once haunting and exquisitely vibrant, Pasulka's original tale is a treasure, transcending history, time, and place." -- Martha McPhee, author of Gorgeous Lies "Pasulka's delightful debut braids together two tales of old and new Poland. . . . Pasulka creates a world that's magical despite the absence of magical happenings, and where Poland's history is bound up in one family's story." --Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) "Grand in scope, yet meticulous in detail, Brigid Pasulka's generous and affectionate novel finds universal truths in both its most-dramatic moments and its most-intimate observations. A compassionate, elegant, and moving debut." --Adam Langer, author of Crossing California "Funny and romantic like all the best true stories." -- Charlotte Mendelson, author of When We Were Bad