Tomasz Piątek

(born 1974) – novelist, columnist and journalist.

To begin with he was mainly involved in journalism, working for various newspapers and magazines (including Gazeta Wyborcza, Polityka, Przekrój and Film) and radio stations. His first novel, Heroin, published in 2002, rapidly became a bestseller and was well received by the critics, since when he has concentrated mainly on writing fiction, becoming one of the most prolific as well as versatile Polish writers.

Piątek’s best known and most highly regarded novel is still his first one, Heroin. It is not, as the title might suggest, yet another clichéd account of the hell of drug addiction, tinged with autobiographical elements (Piątek used to be a heroin addict), written as a warning. Instead he tells the story from the point of view of someone who is permanently under the influence of drugs, thanks to which he feels happy, and perceives his life as one long stream of pleasures (he baldly states: “heroin can substitute for any kind of happiness”). Despite the fact that the novel describes the gradual disintegration of the main character’s personality as a result of drug abuse, it does not include any moralising (some critics expressed fears that the book could actually encourage people to take drugs). Heroin is also a linguistically refined novel – Piątek has created a special style corresponding to the state of a drug trip.

In his next few books Piątek aimed to produce some enjoyable stories that keep the reader gripped while also diagnosing the condition of modern society, striking a balance between popular and ambitious fiction. His topics included violence fuelled by the media (in A Few Nights Away From Home), people’s obsession with evil (The Marsh), and the waning of the emotions in a world where there are too many stimuli (The Case of Justyna). He has proved himself a skilful craftsman who knows how to use a variety of novel-writing techniques, mixing elements of the thriller, crime and fantasy novel (he has also written a fantasy trilogy called The Emperor’s Favourite Subjects). The distinctive feature of Piątek’s writing is black humour.

Bibliography

  • Heroina (“Heroin”), Czarne, Wołowiec 2002
  • Kilka nocy poza domem (“A Few Nights Away From Home”), Czarne, Wołowiec 2002
  • Żmije i krety (“Snakes and Moles”), Runa, Warsaw 2003
  • Bagno (“The Marsh”), Czarne, Wołowiec 2004
  • Szczury i rekiny (“Rats and Sharks”), Runa, Warsaw 2004
  • Elfy i ludzie (“Elves and People”), Runa, Warsaw 2004
  • Przypadek Justyny (“The Case of Justyna”), Czarne, Wołowiec 2004
  • Nionio, Wydawnictwo Literackie, Krakow 2005
  • Dobry Pan (“The Good Lord”), Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, Warsaw 2005  
  • Błogosławiony wiek (“The Blessed Age”),  Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, Warsaw 2006.
  • Pałac Ostrogskich, W.A.B., Warszawa 2008
  • Morderstwo w La Scali, W.A.B., Warszawa 2009
  • Wąż w kaplicy, Warszawa; W.A.B., 2010
  • Miasto Ł., Warszawa; W.A.B., 2012
  • Magdalena, Warszawa; W.A.B., 2014