Highcastle: A Remembrance

Stanislaw Lem, Author, Michael Kandel, Translator Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $22 (146p) ISBN 978-0-15-140218-2
Growing up in Lvov, Poland (now in Ukraine), in the 1920s and '30s, science fiction writer Lem shared a six-room apartment with his parents yet had no room of his own and often slept in the bed in which his grandparents had died. As this remarkably candid memoir/meditation reveals, Lem became a resentful, lonely child, terrorizing aunts or playmates and destroying toys and gramophones. He feared insects, avoided stepping on sidewalk cracks and obsessed over food, the ceiling, an iron chest left by his grandfather. Lem revered and feared his father, an otolaryngologist, and stealthily pored over his anatomy texts and naughty illustrated French novels. In the author's science fiction, machines are lifelike; significantly, as a boy he believed he could mentally interact with inanimate objects, causing a penknife, for instance, to reproduce. This reminiscence, which closes with his first year of medical school, in 1940, is interlaced with soaring reflections on art, memory, innocence, faith and myth. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/04/1995
Release date: 09/01/1995
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 160 pages - 978-0-15-600472-5
Paperback - 166 pages - 978-0-15-602869-1
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