The City of Kielce: Background information when reading The Lullaby of Polish Girls

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Lullaby of Polish Girls

by Dagmara Dominczyk

The Lullaby of Polish Girls by Dagmara Dominczyk
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jun 2013, 240 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2014, 256 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book:
The City of Kielce

Print Review

Much of The Lullaby of Polish Girls is set in the Polish city of Kielce (pronounced Kyell-tsay). The author, Dagmara Dominczyk, is a native of the city and she paints a beautiful picture of Kielce, not just of its tourist attractions but of small draws favored by locals like the Relaks cafe where "families and tourists flooded the place on weekends, lounging on blankets, renting kayaks, and taking strolls uphill to the Relaks for cold beer and French fries that were served in cone-shaped napkins with tiny plastic forks."

St. Cross Church in KielceWith a population of a little more than 200,000, the city is located to the south of the capital, Warsaw, and is the capital of the Swietokrzyskie voivodship (province). Kielce is known for its scenic vistas, as it is at the foot of the Swietokrzyskie (Shwee-yentok-sheskee) (Holy Cross) mountains, one of the oldest mountain chains in Europe. Surrounded by forests, it lies in the valley of the Bobrza River and its tributary, the Silnica, which winds around the city. In Kielce, the Silnica is crafted into an artificial lagoon, one where Anna and her friends from the novel spend many a summer day. Marked tourist trails traverse the city and are popular with walkers and bicyclists alike.

Once a center for limestone mining, Kielce and its surroundings are known for its geological formations and finds. While the city is now fairly vibrant and particularly welcoming to business and tourist travelers, it does have a dark spot in its past. In July 1946, residents launched a pogrom against Jews after false rumors were spread about a Christian child being abducted in order to satisfy Jewish rituals. Rioters killed at least 42 Jews and wounded approximately 50 more. Until the 80s, talk of the pogrom was taboo in Kielce's public venues and homes. Even today's websites devoted to tourism for the area neglect to mention this fact about the city's history.

Statue of Miles Davis in KielceOn a light note, Kielce is considered the birthplace of Polish hip-hop and has a monument for Miles Davis outside its Cultural Center.

Popular tourist attractions in Kielce include:

The National Museum The Kielce branch of the National Museum (the main branch is located in Warsaw) is housed in what was once the summer residence for the bishops of Krakow. The building itself is considered a masterpiece of architecture from the 17th century. Ancient Polish armaments, as well as Polish decorative art, are on permanent display here.

Kadzielnia Park The city of Kielce is known for its geological diversity, which is best exemplified by Kadzielnia Park located in a limestone quarry. Fossilized coral and cephalopods have been discovered here. A series of 26 spectacular caves carry a wide variety of rock specimens. The park even boasts of an amphitheater carved in the rock face and is popular among locals and tourists alike as a nature spot in the middle of the city.

Sienkiewicz Street The longest street in Kielce, Sienkiewicz street is considered the economic and cultural artery of the city. The street has popular department stores as well as historical monuments. In the novel, Anna Baran and her friends might well have frequented many attractions here. Today these include renovated hotels, a new shopping mall called Euro Center and the Stefan Zaromski theater.



First image is St. Cross Church, second is Miles Davis Monument.

Article by Poornima Apte

This article was originally published in June 2013, and has been updated for the February 2014 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Music of the Ghosts
    Music of the Ghosts
    by Vaddey Ratner
    Music of the Ghosts is about healing and forgiveness, but it is also about identity and the revival ...
  • Book Jacket: Castle of Water
    Castle of Water
    by Dane Huckelbridge
    When a whopping 24 out of 27 readers give a book 4 or 5 stars, you know you have a winner on your ...
  • Book Jacket: Havana
    Havana
    by Mark Kurlansky
    History with flavor...culture with spice...language with gusto...it would be hard to find a better ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Nest
by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

A funny and acutely perceptive debut about four siblings and the fate of their shared inheritance.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    If We Were Villains
    by M. L. Rio

    An intelligent and captivating story of the enduring power and passion of words.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Stars Are Fire
    by Anita Shreve

    An exquisitely suspenseful novel about an extraordinary young woman tested by a catastrophic event.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y S M B, I'll S Y

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -