Michał Olszewski

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  • fot. Grażyna Makara

Born in 1977, a prose writer, journalist, reporter for “Gazeta Wyborcza,” the author of much journalism devoted to social issues. His To Amsterdam won the 3rd Edition of the Znak Publishers competition for a novel or short-story collection. Michał Olszewski’s debut is composed of nine pieces that make up a coherent, carefully conceived series of short stories. This is an attempt to present the situation of young Poles who are struggling to find their way in the world of the early 21st century. The overriding quandary which the protagonists of the book confront is this: Should they stay in a provincial and neglected town somewhere on the outskirts of Northern Poland or depart – to Warsaw, a land of money and careers, or to Western Europe? The writer suggests the difficulty is that there are no good solutions. The choices made by the protagonists of To Amsterdam are always the wrong ones; each person’s life somehow breaks down.

Olszewski’s following book is a collection of neither fictional reportage, nor travel stories, whose main protagonist is modern-day provincial Poland. The writer aims to reconstruct its mental landscape, longs to delve into the changes that took place at the turn of the last century. To a lesser degree these are social and economic changes, and to a greater degree spiritual ones. This trip across “second-rate Poland” is crisscrossed with the narrator’s recollections and reflections of his early youth. This narrator fends off what he calls “false mythologies,” the voice of nostalgia, a sensitive dwelling on the past. He tries to understand not only the world he travels and which he carefully observes, but himself as well.

"His prose is artistically perfect, formally irreproachable, and thematically it is absolutely vital, as it shows our Polish reality, warts and all. It delves into the changes rapidly occurring, it is difficult, and sometimes painful. It is real."
Krzysztof Masłoń

Bibliography

  • Do Amsterdamu, Kraków: Znak, 2003.
  • Chwalcie łąki umajone, Wołowiec: Czarne, 2005.
  • Low-tech, Kraków: WL, 2009
  • Zapiski na biletach, Warszawa: W.A.B., 2010
  • Najlepsze buty na świecie, Wołowiec: Czarne, 2014