Literary novel
Waldemar Bawołek
Echo of the Sun

A mismatched couple, connected by a shared fate, a blood bond, a pension

For some time now, the thought of death has followed me. How many funerals have I been to now in so short a time? Four? Five? That plus a sick mother, death following her constantly and her age pressing evenly against it. Recently I’ve also felt somehow half-dead. Besides, what you can think when there’s just the two of you and nothing is happening? As time goes on, life gets boring and monotonous. And my dreams get more frightening. And that space within you and beyond you, where decay keeps speeding up. My mother over there, me here. Silence over there and motionlessness here. Mom reading a book, me sitting at the table and looking out the window. Out the window, nothing moves an inch. The telephone pole standing there, my neighbor’s house, the bushes, the driveway. Nothing moves. And time – the same here as out there. Everything and nothing fitting within it. I can get up and I do, I pace around the room, I talk to mom. Two spoonfuls of sugar. Stir. These everyday actions push us offstage, drive us onto the balcony, into the rain and fog, send us running for our rain gear and galoshes, for clichéd stage business. The desire concealed in this for something unusual to happen, for life and the world to lose – even if for a little while – the ordinariness of everyday persistence. Then you could forget about death. But no, no chance, nada. At best a fly buzzes past that you have to get rid of. The most important question: where did it come from, since the windows and doors are closed? If you don’t do anything for long enough, the fly will vanish off somewhere on its own, as though flying beyond the circle described by the hands of the clock. The thought of death does not pass. Especially in the evening, before sleep. When it is dark and the silence is so pervasive it’s even a shame to break it. Better to somehow sink into insomnia, which will finally pass when the familiar images, shapes, contours, sounds, desires and fulfillments begin to appear. I’m going to have to go to the funeral, even though I’ve just come back from a different one. We were laying my neighbor to rest. I remember him asking me to buy him a quarter-liter of vodka not long ago. He couldn’t do it himself, he was afraid of what people would say if he bought himself vodka. He was barely alive, his time was near, and here he was afraid what people would say if he bought himself a quarter- liter of vodka. He gave me the money and went off to send in his lottery ticket. I bought the vodka, but when I went back to that spot I couldn’t find him, it was hard to figure out where he’d gotten to. I started hunting around the market, only noticing him once I’d decided I wanted to head back home. He thanked me for the booze and left. That was the last time I saw him. Afterwards there was just the funeral. (. . .)

And who says that? I mean, I know I need to live in the here and now, I shouldn’t see myself in others or see myself through their eyes. Why dwell on every step? After all that squanders time, which I have less and less of, and never enough. So, I raise a toast to the marvelous world, to those lies that fill us up, to those who think they’re the smartest, think they want for nothing, feel they’ll leave something behind them. (. . .) Sometimes you want to say, “let them do what they want!” Maybe that’s best.

Excerpt translated by Sean Gasper Bye

Literary novel
Waldemar Bawołek
Echo of the Sun

A mismatched couple, connected by a shared fate, a blood bond, a pension

Publisher: Wydawnictwo Czarne, Wołowiec 2017
Translation rights: Andrew Nurnberg Associates Warsaw,

Echo of the Sun only appears to have an easily perceived “subject.” The main character is a man over fifty who lives with his mother in a small town in southern Poland (reminiscent of Carlo Emilio Gadda’s book The Experience of Pain). They are a mismatched couple, though connected by a shared fate, a blood bond, a pension. A key moment in the book comes when an old tree in front of their house is cut down, which for the son has metaphysical consequences, while his mother does her best to pluck out practical ones, and many further consequences arise that no longer have anything directly to do with the tree.

The theoretical subject of the author’s exploration, though, is narration – its subtlety, its refinement. The book combines realistic parts, a plethora of “overheard” conversations alongside extensive internal monologues, oneiric images, and bravura episodes of surreal origins. The poetic quality of the prose is perceptible, as is its discreet self-restraint in the face of the difficult and often cruel symptoms of life. The main character and his mother persist in a symbiotic relationship – she is as much Goddess as Monster, while he, accustomed to the role of an obedient son, begins to notice his own life is also coming to an end, yet meanwhile it is passing by in a procession of ordinary, repetitive actions.

Salvation comes from the imagination, which Bawołek has in abundance: we keep falling with him into “possible worlds,” though for all its narrative vividness, the novel is very friendly to readers. While it is certainly not easy entertainment, it is not exhausting either. We observe “a prince disguised as a pauper,” somewhat resigned, but attached to his spiritual riches, somewhat haughty, but content to sit every day with his friends and to listen to their everyday secrets.

This book will grab readers who enjoy entering into a narrated world and making themselves at home there, then unhurriedly to undergo a range of epiphanies and revelations (alternating with arguments, illnesses, and everything “life itself” supplies). We might consider Echo of the Sun the literary equivalent of “slow cinema,” a long adagio from some cheerful-sad symphony.

Adam Wiedemann, translated by Sean Gasper Bye

Selected samples

Julita Deluga
Wojtek Wawszczyk, Tomasz Leśniak
Anna Kańtoch
Andrzej Bobkowski
Wisława Szymborska
Zdzisław Kranodębski
Andrzej Nowak
Wiesław Myśliwski
Jarosław Jakubowski
Anna Piwkowska
Roman Honet
Miłosz Biedrzycki
Wojciech Chmielewski
Aleksandra Majdzińska
Tomasz Różycki
Maciej Hen
Jakub Nowak
Elżbieta Cherezińska
歐菈·沃丹斯卡-波欽斯卡(Ola Woldańska-Płocińska)
作者:沃伊切赫·維德瓦克(Wojciech Widłak), 插圖:亞歷珊德拉·克珊諾夫斯卡(Aleksandra Krzanowska)
文字:莫妮卡·烏特尼-斯特魯加瓦(Monika Utnik-Strugała), 概念和插圖:皮歐特·索哈(Piotr Socha)
作者:亞格涅絲卡·斯特爾馬什克(Agnieszka Stelmaszyk)
尤安娜·日斯卡(Joanna Rzyska)、阿嘉妲·杜德克(Agata Dudek)、瑪格熱妲·諾瓦克(Małgorzata Nowak) Druganoga出版社,華沙2021
艾麗莎·皮歐特夫斯卡(Eliza Piotrowska)
米科瓦伊·帕辛斯基(Mikołaj Pasiński)、瑪格熱妲·赫爾巴(Gosia Herba)
歐菈·沃丹斯卡-波欽斯卡(Ola Woldańska-Płocińska)
瑪麗安娜·奧克雷亞克(Marianna Oklejak)
拉法爾·科希克(Rafał Kosik)
亞歷珊德拉·沃丹斯卡-波欽斯卡(Aleksandra Woldańska-Płocińska)
巴托米耶·伊格納邱克(Bartłomiej Ignaciuk), 阿嘉塔·洛特-伊格納邱克(Agata Loth-Ignaciuk)
文字和插圖:皮歐特·卡爾斯基(Piotr Karski)
文字和插圖:皮歐特·卡爾斯基(Piotr Karski)
羅珊娜·延澤耶夫斯卡-弗魯貝爾 (Roksana Jędrzejewska-Wróbel)
作者:普舎米斯瓦夫·維赫特洛維奇(Przemysław Wechterowicz) 插圖:艾米莉·吉烏巴克(Emilia Dziubak)
尤斯提娜·貝納雷(Justyna Bednarek) 插圖:丹尼爾·德拉圖爾(Daniel De Latour)
尤安娜·巴托西克(Joanna Bartosik)
瑪格熱妲·斯文多夫斯卡(Małgorzata Swędrowska)、尤安娜·巴托西克(Joanna Bartosik)
Jan Kochanowski
Jarosław Marek Rymkiewicz
Olga Tokarczuk
Władysław Stanisław Reymont
An Ancient Tale
Stanisław Rembek
Elżbieta Cherezińska
Henryk Sienkiewicz
Maria Dąbrowska
Stefan Żeromski
Bronisław Wildstein
Zbigniew Herbert / Wisława Szymborska
Karol Wojtyła
Wiesław Myśliwski
Czesław Miłosz
Anna Świrszczyńska / Melchior Wańkowicz
Tadeusz Borowski / Gustaw Herling-Grudziński
Wiesław Helak
Góra Tabor
Adriana Szymańska
Paweł Rzewuski
Mariusz Staniszewski
Radek Rak
Urszula Honek
Kazimierz Orłoś
Rafał Wojasiński
Antonina Grzegorzewska
Józef Mackiewicz
Tobiasz Piątkowski, Marek Oleksicki
Daniel Odija
Bronisław Wildstein
Józef Mackiewicz
Józef Mackiewicz
Witold Szabłowski
Andrzej Muszyński
Wiesław Helak
Bartosz Jastrzębski
Dariusz Sośnicki
Łukasz Orbitowski
Jakub Małecki
אנדז'יי ספקובסקי
Elżbieta Cherezińska
Wiesław Myśliwski
Jakub Małecki
Aleksandra Lipczak
Jacek Dukaj
Wit Szostak
Bartosz Biedrzycki
Zyta Rudzka
Maciej Płaza
Wojciech Chmielewski
Paweł Huelle
Przemysław "Trust" Truściński
Angelika Kuźniak
Wojciech Kudyba
Michał Protasiuk
Stanisław Rembek
Krzysztof Karasek
Elżbieta Isakiewicz
Artur Daniel Liskowacki
Jarosław Jakubowski
Zbigniew Stawrowski
Szczepan Twardoch
Wojciech Chmielarz
Robert Małecki
Zygmunt Miłoszewski
Anna Piwkowska
Dominika Słowik
Wojciech Chmielewski
Barbara Banaś
Rafał Mikołajczyk
Jerzy Szymik
Waldemar Bawołek
Julia Fiedorczuk
Jakub Szamałek
Witold Szabłowski
Jacek Dukaj
Grzegorz Górny, Janusz Rosikoń
Paweł Piechnik
Andrzej Strumiłło


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Piotr Mitzner
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Wacław Holewiński
Anna Potyra
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Urszula Zajączkowska
Marek Stokowski
Hubert Klimko-Dobrzaniecki
Jakub Małecki
Łukasz Orbitowski
Małgorzata Rejmer
Rafał Wojasiński
Wojciech Kudyba
Włodzimierz Bolecki
Jerzy Liebert
Wojciech Zembaty
Wojciech Chmielarz
Bogdan Musiał
Joanna Siedlecka
Krzysztof Tyszka-Drozdowski
Jarosław Marek Rymkiewicz
Marek Bieńczyk
Leszek Elektorowicz
Adrian Sinkowski
Szymon Babuchowski
Lech Majewski
Weronika Murek
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Barbara Klicka
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Szczepan Twardoch
Wiesław Helak
Maria Wilczek-Krupa
Anna Kańtoch
Rafał Kosik
Paweł Sołtys
Dorota Masłowska
Wiesław Myśliwski
Martyna Bunda
Olga Tokarczuk
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Waldemar Bawołek
Marek Oleksicki, Tobiasz Piątkowski
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Urszula Zajączkowska
Marzanna Bogumiła Kielar
Ks. Robert Skrzypczak
Bronisław Wildstein
Anna Bikont
Magdalena Grzebałkowska
Wojciech Orliński
Klementyna Suchanow
Andrzej Franaszek
Natalia Budzyńska
Marian Sworzeń
Aleksandra Wójcik, Maciej Zdziarski
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The work of Józef Łobodowski (1909-1988) – a remarkable poet, prose writer, and translator, who spent most of his life in exile – is slowly being revived in Poland. Łobodowski’s brilliant three- volume novel, composed on an epic scale, concerns the fate of families and orphans unmoored by the Bolshevik Revolution and civil war and … Continue reading “Ukrainian Trilogy: Thickets, The Settlement, The Way Back”

Piotr Zaremba
Wacław Holewiński
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