Archive for August 5th, 2012

August 5, 2012

Kurt Vonnegut: A Man Without A Country

by Monika

A bitter and poignant account of a wise old man who asks questions about human responsibility for the fate of the world but knows how hypocritical the answers would be so he doesn’t even want to wait to hear them. “Man without a country” is a mosaic of simple thoughts, perceptions and sharp reflections on human condition, a forthright, poetical and modest quasi-autobiographical ‘teeny-weeny’ form, Vonnegut’s last book. With his unmistakably searing and penetrating sense of humour, Vonnegut intersperses anecdotes from his life with bitter reflections of American post 9/11 politics, expressing for example his deep humanistic disappointment that cigarettes have failed to kill him (as promised on every package) so he is bound to live in a world where ‘the three most powerful people on the whole planet are named Bush, Dick and Colon’.  This is one of these books that even though very short, one needs to read slowly to thoroughly taste and enjoy every bite of it.

August 5, 2012

Artur Domosławski: Ryszard Kapuściński: A Life

by Monika

 There  are not many as disappointing things in life as finding out that someone whose work you’ve always admired was not an impeccable, godlike figure, but a deeply flawed human being. Suddenly it’s down to us to judge if we can overlook these flaws or if we find them utterly unforgivable. This is a decision that the reader of ‘Ryszard Kapuściński: A Life” by Artur Domosławski (translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones) will have to make for himself. Domoslawski hit hard with a brilliant and thoroughly fascinating biography that openly questions the veracity of Kapuściński’s writing as well as the nature of his political engagement in Communist Poland. It’s a book that caused a little civil war in reporter’s home country: Kapuściński’s wife tried to stop it from being published – fortunately, in vain. It is a beautifully written testimony, full of respect and understanding that is aimed at truth, before that truth would have been (surely) revealed by some other, (surely) far less kind source. A must read.