Literary novel
Dorota Masłowska
Other People

An epic rooted in the intuition and rhythm of hip-hop

(Kamil is taking an evening tram through downtown)

He’s staring at the sky
as he’s sitting on the tram,
the dark surface chem-
-trail-sliced, like an iPhone with a cracked
(horror-spattered) screen, but over there flashes flashing, the embrace of urban
embers, the Not-So-Great New Worlds’ beguiling neon pass-through, Fall in Love with
Warsaw, some banner says he has to.
He’s spent years trying, but for real? It’s not so E-Z,
it’s no done deal, as anyone can see in the shitty jars filled with down-home fare splashing out of minibuses onto Defilad Square—
it’s out to mom’s for the weekend.

(ANETA, buying a bus ticket: “To Radzyń, please.” DRIVER, brusquely: “No change!”)

They’re heading out of town to pay their taxes, though they’re all from Warsaw, if you’re asking.
Some say they love the city, its entire groove,
though I Hate It! gets lots of clicks, too.
The clique, based on politicians and Mafiosi,
the street’s apathetic apotheosi. Even in the uterus they’re mugging for the cameras,
career-craving hot lust,

no one counts on anyone, though everybody counts on something, is counting something out,
applied mathematics always in effect / clever hand
washing hand at every step / through the wine at little Lidl’s—people picking,
in the freezers dumping out the dumplings, fries, or they get stuck with a dirt-cheap dainty
pawned off by some poor biddy.
For some it’s poetry, for others it’s life’s prose.
For others still, a drama. Speaking of drama, he has
no scarf for his nose, and the tram piss-reeks from someone’s zipper-hose, so his head starts to go the way a record goes…


Ashen faces, ashen faces, people with no dreams
or hopes, days off, days off, after holidays off, a sell-off sale
on what they hope to own, they dream a screen
can kill
their germs. Holidays and afterwards,
it’s a sell-off sale.

Ashen faces, ashen faces, they’ll watch so many
things fail that before the days off, pre-day sales, and after,
post-sale sales,

they’re afraid of what fearsome things the News
will tell.
They dream whatever network wizards spell.

Excerpt translated by Benjamin Paloff

Literary novel
Dorota Masłowska
Other People

An epic rooted in the intuition and rhythm of hip-hop

Publisher: Wydawnictwo Literackie, Kraków 2018
Translation rights: Agencja Literacka Syndykat Autorów,

We can read Other People as an epic poem about a community’s disintegration in language. We follow the destinies of jaded people, for whom consumption has become a secular religion, people who have no trouble making do without higher needs.

Kamil lives in an apartment block, has no great aspirations, and settles for pushing drugs and hitting the pipe in the morning. Any minute now his sister Sandra is going to choose a course that will lead her astray. Ivana, a nouveau-riche matron, is looking for a feeling that will set some distinctive tone for her boring, predictable daily life. Matthew, her husband, an internally shredded man of success, finds, among some exclusive narcotics, the ink he uses to print out his inner emptiness. He and his wife have enjoyed a union devoid of emotion, following the credo, “Therefore / what the bank has joined together, it won’t be so easy for man to put asunder.” The destinies of all these people become intertwined as their motivations are painfully exposed.

Their dreams bring about an unmitigated fiasco, their bonds fray. Masłowska has written a book about loneliness in which “no one counts on anyone, though everybody counts on something.” Everyone in this world is missing the spiritual element, an internal depth. The author has an exceptional ear for language and her environment; she draws her characters quite convincingly in language, imbuing them with distinctive and refined qualities – obsessions, follies, and habits that give rise to high-flying linguistic jousting. Here is an epic rooted in the intuition and rhythm of hip-hop. Masłowska depicts a world that is taking the easy way out, gratifying itself with fast fulfillment, incapable of a moment’s concentration. And this is just as much an epic about the modern city, urban life, losing touch with reality, of objectifying one’s own self.

Bartosz Suwiński, translated by Benjamin Paloff

Selected samples

Jakub Małecki
Wiesław Myśliwski
Elżbieta Cherezińska
אנדז'יי ספקובסקי
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


Marta Kwaśnicka
Piotr Mitzner
Paweł Sołtys
Wacław Holewiński
Anna Potyra
Wiesław Helak
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
Agnieszka Świętek
Stanisław Szukalski
Barbara Klicka
Anna Kamińska

She climbed her first peaks in a headscarf at a time when women in the mountains were treated by climbers as an additional backpack. It was with her that female alpinism began! She gained recognition in a spectacular way. The path was considered a crossing for madmen. Especially since the tragic accident in 1929, preserved … Continue reading “Halina”

Wojciech Chmielarz

First, Marysia, a student of an exclusive private school in Warsaw’s Mokotów district, dies under the wheels of a train. Her teacher, Elżbieta, tries to find out what really happened. She starts a private investigation only soon to perish herself. But her body disappears, and the only people who have seen anything are Gniewomir, a … Continue reading “Wound”

Anna Kańtoch

A young girl, Regina Wieczorek, was found dead on the beach. She was nineteen years old and had no enemies. Fortunately, the culprit was quickly found. At least, that’s what the militia think. Meanwhile, one day in November, Jan Kowalski appears at the police station. He claims to have killed not only Regina but also … Continue reading “Penance”

Marek Krajewski

The year is 1922. A dangerous time of breakthrough. In the Eastern Borderlands of the Republic of Poland, Bolshevik gangs sow terror, leaving behind the corpses of men and disgraced women. A ruthless secret intelligence race takes place between the Lviv-Warsaw-Free City of Gdańsk line. Lviv investigator Edward Popielski, called Łysy (“Hairless”), receives an offer … Continue reading “A Girl with Four Fingers”

Ks. Tomasz Stępień

This question is closely related to the next one, namely: if any goal exists, does life lead us to that goal in an orderly manner? In other words, is everything that happens to us just a set of chaotic events that, combined together, do not form a whole? To understand how the concept of providence … Continue reading “Order and Love”

Jakub Małecki
Szczepan Twardoch
Wiesław Helak
Maria Wilczek-Krupa
Anna Kańtoch
Rafał Kosik
Paweł Sołtys
Dorota Masłowska
Wiesław Myśliwski
Martyna Bunda
Olga Tokarczuk
Various authors
Mariola Kruszewska
Waldemar Bawołek
Marek Oleksicki, Tobiasz Piątkowski
Wojciech Tomczyk
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
Józef Łobodowski

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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