Stone Upon Stone (Paperback)
"Sweeping...irreverent...With winning candor...Pietruszka chronicles the modernization of rural Poland and celebrates the persistence of desire."--"The New Yorker"
A masterpiece of postwar Polish literature, "Stone Upon Stone" is Wieslaw Mysliwski's grand epic in the rural tradition--a profound and irreverent stream of memory cutting through the rich and varied terrain of one man's connection to the land, to his family and community, to women, to tradition, to God, to death, and to what it means to be alive. Wise and impetuous, plain-spoken and compassionate Szymek Pietruszka recalls his youth in their village, his time as a guerrilla soldier, as a wedding official, barber, policeman, lover, drinker, and caretaker for his invalid brother. Filled with interwoven stories and voices, by turns hilarious and moving, Szymek's narrative exudes the profound wisdom of one who has suffered yet who loves life to the very core.
Wieslaw Mysliwski received the prestigious Nike Literary Award twice. "Stone Upon Stone" is his most celebrated achievement.
About the Author
Wieslaw Mysliwski (b.1932) won the Nike Award (the Polish equivalent of the Booker Prize) TWICE (!) for Widnokrag [Horizon] (1996) and Traktat o luskaniu fasoli [The Treatise for Shelling Beans] (2006)--forthcoming from Archipelago. In his novels and plays Mysliwski concentrates on life in the Polish countryside. His voice is utterly unique, at once colloquial and thoughtful, questioning and wise.
Bill Johnston is Director of the Polish Studies Center at Indiana University. His translations include Gustaw Herling's The Noonday Cemetery and Other Stories (New Directions, 2003), Jerzy Pilch's His Current Woman (Grove, 2002), and Stefan Zeromski's The Faithful River (Northwestern, 1999). In 1999 he received a National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship for Translation. In 2008 he won the inaugural Found in Translation award for Tadeusz Rozewicz's new poems, to be presented yearly to the translator of the finest Polish-English literary translation of the year.
"This is an epic novel about modernization in rural Poland." — Publisher's Weekly, 20 Best Books in Translation You've Never Read
Like a more agrarian Beckett, a less gothic Faulkner, a slightly warmer Laxness, Mysliwski masterfully renders in Johnston's gorgeous translation (Mysliwski's first into English) life in a Polish farming village before and after WWII. . . . Richly textured and wonderfully evocative. — Publishers Weekly, starred review
Joyously anchored in the physical world, steeped in storytelling, a delight from start to finish. — Kirkus, starred review
Wieslaw Mysliwski's vast novel is an artistic accomplishment of the highest order… A masterpiece beyond the shadow of a doubt. — Henryk Bereza
A hymn in praise of life. — Krysytna Dabrowska
A marvel of narrative seduction, a rare double masterpiece of storytelling and translation.. . . Mysliwski's prose, replete with wit and an almost casual intensity, skips nimbly from one emotional register to the next, carrying dramatic force. . . . He manages tone so finely, orchestrating a perfect continuity between the tragic and the comic and, ultimately, between life and death . . . In his translation Bill Johnston navigates Mysliwski's modulations with skill and the lightness of touch that is generally the face of profound labor. — Times Literary Supplement
A marvelous, garrulous book ... The grandest example of a genre ... Szymek's rustic voice narrates with a naivete and an eloquence that are equally endearing, reaching into every corner of the Polish countryside like a great shining sun. — The National
Sweeping . . . irreverent . . With winning candor . . . chronicles the modernization of rural Poland and celebrates the persistence of desire. — The New Yorker