Literary novel
Marek Stokowski
The Short Film Cinema

Multidimensional, lyrical and funny novel narrated by a dog

M could walk very quietly. Along the way, he had a particularly discreet companion in me. Generally, I couldn’t travel right beside him since it’s illegal. Dogs are not allowed to wander unleashed in the forest. They chase and startle wild animals. It happens – I can’t deny it. Truth be told, we find it hard to ignore the scent of foxes, does, fawns, wild boars and other delicious game going to waste while roaming the woods. In some exceptional circumstances, however, we manage to suppress our wolfish instincts. We do so when we value something more than hunting. Something, or someone.

The law is totally blind to one’s readiness for sacrifice. By design, it has no faith in gentlemanly predators. M did not suffer from such blindness, though. He could see and trust enough not to leave me behind the gate to the forest during his daily hikes. Hence, somewhat illegally, I was his faithful shadow, a companion from a distance, an unobtrusive protector. In the forest I would run up to him occasionally, only for a moment, to rub against his leg, exchange glances, wag my tail, or tug at his trousers when I had a hunch.


Why did M roam the woods? As I said, it had to do with the tuning. M did his best to harmonise some areas of the forest and of the world beyond it. He did that whenever he heard a dissonance. A dissonance would indicate to him that something was weak, hurting, wounded, or withering. That was his profession, or vocation of sorts, a type of voluntary duty.

I will gladly remind all those who gorge on the fat sausages that cause pork sclerosis that he performed his duties as the sole proprietor of Tuning the Green and Beyond, Inc. Although the company turned no profit, it freed M from the unpleasant thought of being nothing more than a freeloader. Besides, he was also working on his own soul and body. And he had much to do there.


What else? What else is worth knowing in order to understand him a little better?

On occasion, M would receive letters, mostly from Canada. Aside from that he read a variety of books quite often, or listened to the radio, preferably to pieces composed by the cantor of Leipzig who had a secret connection with the powers above; he liked the spruce tree outside his window, and he nursed me whenever I got roughed up by my buddies, or after I had taken some shot from a rogue smoothbore; he’d tell stories about knights and airmen to the kids from the hamlets, and stubbornly exercised his memory; he received a meagre pension, and often struggled with troublesome, racing thoughts; he thanked everyone for everything and would sometimes encounter pilot acquaintances with whom he claimed to have worked years ago.

In due course he met Marta and Monika, the daughters of K. Bernatowicz, the forester. He grew very fond of Monika, and fell in love with Marta.


The younger sister, Monika, was gravely ill – much more seriously than the trees cured by my friend. A black stone that torments and kills people was growing inside her head.

M tried to help her. His method, though different from harmonising the trees and the world beyond, was also rather peculiar. He would tell Monika stories he found in different places in the forest already described by me. And — listen to this! Despite its apparent shortcomings, the treatment proved rather effective.

Once my friend began telling the Bernatoiwicz sisters different things to make them smile and laugh during their secret meetings in the forest, he was ready to swear that Monika started to grow more in tune. This doesn’t mean that Monika started to sing famous arias from Rigoletto or The Magic Flute; day after day and week after week, however, her body and the thing inside it would gradually flush out the horrifying, jarring tones to reach the clear note of a typical nineteenyear- old girl filled with life and hope. M could hear that. He’d mastered that skill while harmonising the trees and the world beyond.

Excerpt translated by Mirek Lalas

Literary novel
Marek Stokowski
The Short Film Cinema

Multidimensional, lyrical and funny novel narrated by a dog

Publisher: Wydawnictwo Niecałe, Bytom 2014
Translation rights: Wydawnictwo Niecałe,

‘I’d strongly advise against reading this book on a train, because you might burst out laughing or crying in front of people,’ warns one of the novel’s fictional characters. It’s not the only structural surprise here. A dog named Wabi narrates the story.

The novel revolves around an ultrasensitive man who, after waking up from a long coma, begins taking awkward steps into a world that’s blindly rushing by. He escapes the thick oppression of the streets of Warsaw to find peace in the woods. There, he mingles with angels wearing officer caps of airline pilots.

He heads north, guided by a deep conviction that, through his journey, he will cure a girl’s cancer when he arrives at the Swedish city of Uppsala. A madman? An idealist? The line is blurry.

Trudging through snow drifts, he ponders – do or die – the biggest questions under the sun.

The plot unfolds against the backdrop of Żuławy Wiślane, a ‘beautiful depression’ of virgin fens untouched by throngs of tourists rushing to the Baltic Sea. If the French speak of ‘deep France,’ this is ‘deep Poland,’ with the Gothic of Teutonic castles set amidst endless fields, locks, weirs, the half-timbered, arcaded houses of rich landowners, and the remnants of Mennonite graveyards.

After reading the book, I ventured into those parts to understand first-hand why the sight of Vistula’s alluvial valley left the novel’s protagonist so awestruck. Now I know.

The author, who works as curator at the gigantic Malbork Castle of the Teutonic Order, takes to the forest like a duck to water. In 1981 he left the capital city of Warsaw to explore the backcountry. ‘Our highrises smelled of garbage chutes. We fought for every morsel of cheese. No one smiled. I thought, “You just can’t spend every week, or year of your life waiting for the weekend, or a summer vacation”.’

The story got me hooked with its moods reminiscent of Edward Stachura’s All the Brightness, and the novels of Wiesław Myśliwski.

This multidimensional book defies categorisation. It contains much poetry and humour. Some scenes give you goosebumps while others make you laugh uncontrollably.

Marcin Jakimowicz

Translated by Mirek Lalas

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
To the top

© 2024 The Polish Book Institute