A Long, Long Time Ago
And Essentially True is a novel about
love, loss, and sacrifice. The book tells the stories of two generations of the
Mrozek family, with chapters alternating between the grandparents' experience
during WWII and the years immediately thereafter, and their granddaughter's life
in mid-1990s Krakow. First-time author Brigid Pasulka skillfully compares and
contrasts life in Poland during these two very different eras in the nation's
history, painting a vivid image of both its past and its present.
The episodes that concern Pigeon and Anielica ("Angel") have an almost fairy-tale feel to them, in spite of the increasingly serious subject matter. The time frame feels distant and slightly unreal, with Pigeon in particular being a larger-than-life figure, always in control and capable of overcoming any obstacle. The narrator of these sections ...
About the Author
Brigid Pasulka, the descendant of Polish immigrants, first arrived in Kraków in the early nineties, with no contacts, no knowledge of the language, and only a vague idea of Polish culture. She quickly fell in love with the place, learned Polish, and decided to live there for one year. She now teaches English at a Chicago high school.
View a video in which Brigid explains the backstory to the book.
The illustration in the sidebar of Baba Yaga and her flying mortar is by Viktor Mikhailovich Vasnetsov (1848-1926), a Russian artist who specialized in mythological and historical subjects.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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