Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Eastern European authors

I've had this book lying around the house for awhile and started it last night--Shadow Catcher by Andrzej Szczypiorski, a Polish writer. It's about a young boy just before WWII. The writer is from Warsaw, fought for the Resistance during the war, and spent time in a concentration camp. It's lovely so far; of course, you know that the boy's world is going to be turned upside down as you read about his idyllic childhood and his imaginary world of heroic adventurers.

I like reading Eastern European writers. I think there's still that air of mystery and menace that clings to the stories from the former Soviet bloc, whether they are writing historical fiction like this, or contemporary stories about characters who are emerging from those old Communist regimes. I've read novels by Ivan Klima (Czech), Ismail Kadare (Albanian), and Sandor Marai (Hungarian) that I've really enjoyed, but somehow I've never read a single Milan Kundera novel! Maybe I should make a point of reading one this summer.

Andrei Makine is also very good. I loved Dreams of my Russian Summers. I'm a sucker for those beautiful, nostalgic novels looking back on a lost world. He has several more recent novels, and one I think that is brand new, or coming out soon.