Sleeping Beauty’s Confession

Mariusz Sieniewicz
Sleeping Beauty’s Confession
  • Znak
    Kraków 2012
    140 x 205
    260 pp
    ISBN: 978-83-240-1896-3
    Translation rights: Znak

In his latest novel, Mariusz Sieniewicz - one of the most important names in the generation of Polish writers born in the 1970’s - remains within the range of topics that interest him the most. The main topic of the freshly published Sleeping Beauty’s Confession is the deconstruction of cultural identity - national and local - that also resounded in previous books like Fourth Heaven and We Don’t Serve Jewish Women
The heroine of this novel, which is divided into three parts, is also its narrator, a thirty-eight-year-old woman named Emi, a single woman who keeps getting involved in toxic relationships with men. On top of that, Emi suffers from narcolepsy, as a result of which she falls asleep several times a day. She dreams about far-fetched things, although one motif keeps recurring: suicide. Yet something is always getting in the way of Emi committing it. At a certain point Svietka appears, an enigmatic Belorussian woman claiming to be Emi’s sister. The pursuit of a new man begins, Lovemuffin. Lovemuffin is a special kind of man, though he represents many different subcategories: the narcissist, the guy suffering from depression, and the fanatical patriot...
The world of Sleeping Beauty’s Confession alternates between sleep and waking, and this effect is enhanced by Sieniewicz’s satirical, parodic style. Beneath what is superficially a somewhat absurd fairy tale, the writer takes a critical look at the reality of contemporary Poland (there are also references to the 1980’s in the background)—with its culturally inscribed expectations with regard to gender roles (represented, among others, by the eponymous Sleeping Beauty), as well as things like virtual communication over the internet. Sieniewicz employs linguistic cliches for this, in order to wrest it from its armor of gravitas and show the absurdity of an incapacitating culture as he proceeds through his unique story. This is the expressive voice of a forty-year-old novelist, satirical and critical of Polishness and modernity.

+ Marcin Wilk

Mariusz Sieniewicz (born 1972) is a novelist and columnist, regarded as one of the most talented writers of the younger generation. His most recent books are Rebellion (2007) and City of Glass Elephants (2010).