As the Geese Fly

Mariusz Wilk
As the Geese Fly
  • Noir Sur Blanc
    Warszawa, 2012
    ISBN: 978-83-7392-372-0
    210 pp

The latest part of Mariusz Wilk’s Northern Diary, titled As the Geese Fly, is apparently similar to the previous books in the series, in which Wilk described his travels about the Far North of Russia. Apparently still writing in short, journalistic notes – Wilk would probably use the word “sections” – he tries to encapsulate the experience of physical and intellectual roaming which takes him to the purifying Void, thanks to which he can separate himself from the tumult of ordinary life, to wander deep inside himself, while also unhurriedly contemplating the world around him. Wilk is apparently still using the same unique style, in which words and phrases from the Russian language are mixed with old Polish – and yet As the Geese Fly is not typical of his output.
Wilk has become the father of a daughter, Martusza, which, as he puts it, “made my world turn upside down, in other words it stood on its head. Although some of my friends claim it is the other way around – now it is standing on its feet.” The child’s birth forced the nomadic writer to rethink his strategies for life completely, and to define his aims anew. In fact, he still goes roving just as before, and gives the reader an account of his wanderings. In the new book he describes Petrozavodsk and people connected with this city (Mirror of Water), a short trip to Labrador (Minced Caribou) and another season spent at his old wooden house on the Onega river (Beyond the Mirror), presents more of his favourite authors (chiefly the vagabond-writer Kenneth White, inventor of concepts such as “the intellectual nomad” or “Geopoetics”), and writes about his spiritual revelations. Yet he constantly has the image of his darling daughter at the back of his mind, and the thought that from now on he is following the trail – his path in life – mainly in order to prepare Martusza to take it up as soon as he himself can go no further.
Wilk has changed, and his writing is different too. As the Geese Fly is above all a deep and moving account of the joys and cares of late fatherhood.

- Robert Ostaszewski