Stories

Adam Wiedemann
Stories
  • Stowarzyszenie Rita Baum
    Wrocław 2011
    ISBN 978–83–924251–8–2
    130 x 178
    228 pp
    paperback

Adam Wiedemann, best known for his poetry, returns to prose after a decade-long absence following the publication of his last collection of short stories "Sęk pies brew"        
["Cinq pièces brèves"], making his comeback all the more noteworthy, meaningful and poignant. His new collection, "Stories" contains twenty 20 short stories. Wiedemann feels comfortable in this unpopular Polish literary genre— something for which he should be praised, in light of the current dispiriting convention of inflating a story to the proportions of a novel.

Omitting a few fragments of so-called pastiche character, Wiedemann’s stories chronicle what he knows best—his own life. And in telling us about himself—the artist in mid-career, living in uncertain times—he writes with an eloquence and a sense humor that is far from what we typically expect. Wiedemann possesses in his repertoire a tradition—which he draws from—a style of Polish confessional prose developed by Miron Białoszewski. What is worth noting about "Stories" is that what characterizes the selection is not a repertoire of stories from the home front but of games in the outfield— quasi-journalistic pieces about his ventures (the word “happenings” is more fitting) at festivals, fairs and fellowships abroad (which have come to amount to a substantial sum).

What we are confronted with here is a relation of an everyday life made somewhat exotic (especially for a reader outside the literary profession). The writing is aware of common linguistic trappings into which any storytelling is at risk of falling. “You think you’re going to experience something, and you may even actually experience it, but then suddenly you realize that you didn’t experience anything, and it doesn’t bother you at all. It doesn’t bother you that you can’t remember anything about what you didn’t experience and what you experienced. It doesn’t bother you even though at the time it seemed you might not experience anything. You experienced it, and you even got something out of it.”— writes Wiedemann in his short piece about his writer’s residency in Iowa City.

We should be happy that Wiedemann — and his readers, too — are getting so much out of this.  

- Marcin Sendecki