A Thousand Peaceful Cities

Jerzy Pilch

"If laughter actually is the best medicine, fortunate readers of this wonderful novel will surely enjoy perfect health for the rest of their days."―Kirkus Reviews A comic gem, Jerzy Pilch's A Thousand Peaceful Cities takes place in 1963, in the latter days of the Polish post-Stalinist "thaw." The narrator, Jerzyk ("little Jerzy"), is a teenager who is keenly interested in his father, a retired postal administrator, and his father's closest friend, Mr. Traba, a failed Lutheran clergyman, alcoholic, and would-be Polish insurrectionist. One drunken afternoon, Mr. Traba and the narrator's father decide to take charge of their lives and do one final good turn for humanity: travel to distant Warsaw and assassinate the de facto Polish head of state, First Secretary of the Polish United Workers' Party, Wladyslaw Gomulka―assassinating Mao Tse-tung, after all, would be impractical. And they decide to involve Jerzyk in their scheme... Jerzy Pilch is one of Poland's most important contemporary writers and journalists. In addition to his long-running satirical newspaper column, Pilch has published several novels, and has been nominated for Poland's prestigious NIKE Literary Award four times; he finally won the Award in 2001 for The Mighty Angel. His novels have been translated into numerous languages. David Frick is a professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Berkeley.

Open Letter 143 pages

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