Literary novel
Wiesław Myśliwski
The Needle’s Eye

A new novel by the master of Polish prose

One afternoon I was on my way to second shift at two o’clock when all of a sudden I heard something like whining, or a child crying. I stopped for a moment. To the left
of the road was an empty lot with piles of bricks, sto- nes, planks, beams, beyond all of which, at the far end there was a cottage. I left the road and went out onto the lot. It was only then that I spotted a pit of slaked lime, and in it a child drowning. All you could see was his little head. A moment later and he would go un- der. I ran across, lay down at the edge of the pit, plun- ged my hands up to the elbows in the lime, hooked the child under the arms and tried to lift him, but my muscles wouldn’t work. More by an effort of will than anything else, I kept the boy’s head above the surface. My heart was pounding, my mind racing. I had to hur- ry, because slaked lime burns, and it drags you in like a swamp. Plus, it could have drawn me in too, because there was no way I was letting go of the kid, yet only half my body, more or less to the waist, was lying on the bank. The other half, with my arms stretched out holding onto the child, was hanging over the lime. I don’t know, maybe I just imagined I could see the little tear-stained face, the blue eyes frozen in fear. I must have brought my own head close to the child’s, as if I was cradling him.

Then, somewhere in the distance I heard a cry that so- unded like it was being torn from someone’s innards: “Mother of God!” Thudding of footsteps, shouts, cu- rses. The mother, father, grandfather were running from the cottage. Someone’s strong hands took me by the ankles, and a powerful male voice, the father’s as it turned out, yelled over my head:

“Hold on to him! I’ll pull you back!”

He snatched the child from my arms and ran to the well with him. He pulled up a bucketful of water and poured it over the boy, who started crying even louder than when he’d been drowning in lime. The mother ran back to the cottage and a moment later hurried out with an armful of rags, not so much crying as keening, “Dear Lord, Dear Lord!” Meanwhile the gran- dfather tottered around the lime pit, shaking his head and repeating over and over:

“I said cover it, cover it up I said. I said cover it up. . .”

Evidently these lamentations weren’t enough for him, because he stood at the edge of the pit at the place where the boy had fallen in and began whacking his walking stick against the bank, sending up clouds of dust.

“You monster! Damn you! Take that!”

“Father-in-law, have you gone mad?” The boy’s father

grabbed the walking stick out of his hand, making the older man stagger till he almost fell in the pit himself. “You’re knocking earth into the lime!”

They were slaking the lime for the construction of a new house. It was going to be brick built, with a cel- lar, a steep roof, a tall attic, big windows, a glassed-in porch. And it was going to stand by the road, in front of the lime pit, it’d be separated from the roadway only by a little flower garden. No lilac or jasmine, so as not to block the view of the road. It’s more cheerful when you can see who’s walking or driving by, win- dows ought to have some life in them.

Excerpt translated by Bill Johnston

Literary novel
Wiesław Myśliwski
The Needle’s Eye

A new novel by the master of Polish prose

Publisher: Znak, Kraków 2018
Translation rights: Znak Publishers,

A gripping novel that asks fundamental questions about human existence. The story begins with an enigmatic meeting between two men on a steep stairway leading to a “wild old green valley,” in a defile known as the Needle’s Eye. A tragic incident triggers the action. Who are the men and what is their relationship? Who is the mysterious girl in the photograph that one of them carries with him?

In this masterfully constructed book nothing happens by chance; each scene has its significance, like a step on a stairway. Gradually we learn the story of the cen- tral character: his childhood in a small town during the war, his youth spent under communism, and finally old age in present-day Poland. We’re with him in his family home, on walks with the girl, in rooming houses, ren- ted apartments; we see him as a schoolboy, a college student, and finally as a history teacher. From time to time we go back with him to visit his parents, with whom he is close, painfully watching them grow old and moving “toward silence.” History leaves its stamp on the lives of the protagonists, including on those parts that remain unspoken.

The novel, constructed as a series of interwoven retrospectives, uncovers the work of memory, and at the same time poses questions about its nature. It tells of the past and simultaneously inquires into what the past actually is. A kind of probe serving this inquiry is the repeated motif of the encounter between youth and old age. What is human identity based on? What enables us to say of ourselves that we are who we are? This magnificent book contains everything: a relish for detail, the pithiness of spoken language, and the heft of symbol. With each new reading it reveals a different dimension of itself to the reader.

Małgorzata Szczurek, translated by Bill Johnston

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


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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