Bohin Manor

Tadeusz Konwicki, Author, Richard Lourie, Translator
Tadeusz Konwicki, Author, Richard Lourie, Translator Farrar Straus Giroux $19.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-374-11523-4
Reviewed on: 03/31/1990
Release date: 04/01/1990
Against an ironically luxuriant late-19th-century atmosphere, Konwicki's disturbing parable fuses elements of old-fashioned romance, phantasmagoria and premonitory fable. The author/narrator portrays his Lithuanian Polish grandmother, Helena Konwicka, as a young woman torn between her fiance, a stuffy, conventional count, and a magnetic Jewish wanderer and political activist. Her anti-Semitic prejudices surface, but love wins out--or almost does. When Helena announces that she's pregnant, her graying father, who hasn't spoken a word since the failed Polish uprising of 1863, brings this somnambulistic drama to a jolting finale. Musically mixing memory and foreboding, Konwicki ( Moonrise, Moonset ) peoples his brooding landscape with two future despots: the young Hitler (here called Schicklgruber), and Stalin (here Police Chief Dzhugashvili, whose chief delight is arresting nationalists and liberals). Poet Alexander Pushkin, seeking a home among the Poles, and military hero Adam Mickiewicz also figure in the plot. (July)
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