Skeletophobia

Wojciech Kuczok
  • Zielona Sowa
    Kraków 2002
    145 x 202
    78 pages
    ISBN 83-7220-340-7

Wojciech Kuczok’s prose work has won a large circle of admirers, although he has only just published his second collection of stories, Skeletophobia. You can understand why; this book is a joy to read from the very beginning – it is lively and also intelligent, and there are already glimmers of truly superb writing shining through. The stories are fairly off-beat and have a bold way of dealing with reality, but there’s also something running through them that I would call a roguish affirmation of the world. Kuczok wants to harass the world around him, pick a fight with it and turn it upside-down. People and events arouse his imagination and provoke him to wilfully ‘amend’ the work of Creation. Childhood plays an odd role here, not only as something sighed for by the heroes of the stories, but also as a way of coping in the face of oppression. This regression into an infantile state often arises from the fact that Kuczok’s characters live within the air-tight cushioning of the family – they include children who are nannied or bullied by mothers and grandmothers, husbands who are caressed by their wives, and wives who aren’t comforted by their husbands. One of the trump cards of Kuczok’s stories is already familiar – his virtuoso way of playing games with style. As well as the dialect of the Tatra Highlands and schoolboy jargon, the reader finds the whole gamut of less obvious colloquialisms, highly comical onomatopoeias, and also a handful of excellent puns, in which the author is relying on a careful reader with a fondness for word games. One thing is for sure: Kuczok’s writing is an unusual, refreshing event.
Tomasz Mizerkiewicz