Goldi

Ewa Kuryluk
Goldi
  • Twój Styl
    Warszawa 2004
    108 x 194
    248 pages
    ISBN 83-7163-520-6

Goldi, by painter and author Ewa Kuryluk, is a moving autobiographical novel about feelings and emotions. Despite the dominant role of the father in the family (which is always taken for granted)—Karol Kuryluk, a member of the socialist nomenklatura, as well as the Polish ambassador to Vienna, dubbed ‘Little Paw’ here—this is really a novel about the author’s brother and mother.
The Goldi of the title is a “very capable” hamster who is both movable core and catalyst of family events. Except that some event from twentieth century history is always impinging from beyond the walls of this microworld, beginning with World War II, and including significant figures such as Vyacheslav Molotov, who visits the Embassy.
At the same time, this is a book about many kinds of taboos: about political taboo, which manifests itself here in a seris of allusions; about the taboo of mental illness, never named expressly, which the narrator-author’s brother and especially mother suffer from; about the taboo of being Jewish; about the taboo of the effects of the Holocaust on its victims. The word Jewish is never once used, but it would be difficult to find a more harrowing description of the complete suppression of one’s ancestry. After the death of her mother, the author finds photographs hidden in her winter boots (stuffed deeply into a secret compartment underneath the ceiling)—pictures of her closest relatives, whom her mother had never mentioned. We see their photographs in the book.
The story is told in its entirety with immediacy and with love, as if from the point of view of a little girl who lived through all of it from day to day. As an adult, she strives to recover the former perspective of each of the main characters.

- Małgorzata Baranowska