Spying

Krystian Lupa
Spying
  • W.A.B.
    Warszawa 2003
    125 x 195
    280 pages
    ISBN 83-89291-59-2

Following Labyrinth (2000), Spying is the second volume of prose by Krystian Lupa, Poland’s most interesting theatre director. Once again, as one of his reviewers noted, this is an unusual book that presents a complicated view of the world. “In a shifting succession of episodes, supposedly gleaned from experience, various mysteries, wonders and allusions lie hidden. Most often Lupa chooses to describe something that cannot be fully expressed.” Regardless of who or what Lupa is telling us about, he always displays his own sensibility, his own views on the topic of reality and other people. That’s not surprising, because after all, he is the main hero of this book. And even if he’s writing about a clown performing in the Cracow Marketplace, an old woman he saw at the clinic or a man who thinks he is an angel, paradoxically by focusing attention on himself he ends up describing mainly himself; he treats the people he encounters like mirrors that reflect his own figure in a more or less distorted way.
Lupa is obsessed with modernist literature, especially the German tradition, which is evident in his theatrical pursuits. This obsession also comes through in his prose, where he writes about mixing up physicality and spirituality, life and death (or else youth and old age), about metaphysics and art. He gives an emotionally charged portrait of the life of an artist  a thoroughly modernistic artist, as we can see at once from his narrative style, full of ragged, broken sentences ending in “dot-dot-dot”. Lupa’s prose is in the form of hurried, often plainly restless notes, trying to catch up with an escaping thought – and to pit their wits against things that are inexpressible.

- Robert Ostaszewski

"Krystian Lupa’s book is an opportunity to spy on a creative mind. This time everyone is spying on each other – Lupa spies on the world and on himself, while the readers spy on Lupa."

- Piotr Gruszczyński