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Witold Gombrowicz, Lillian Vallee


Pornografia - Tomasz Barcinski, Witold Gombrowicz Gombrowicz is a unique writer, very difficult to translate into English. This book was translated by a winner of the Polish government's "Found in Translation" award, which she won partly on the basis of this translation. What I find interesting about Gombrowicz is that his two biggest insights into human nature--that even as adults we all feel immature and that people's personalities change depending on whom they interact with--are turned by him into very interesting and provocative novels and plays. "Pornografia" engages both these themes as it minutely dissects the consciousness of its narrator, who is named, not coincidentally, "Witold Gombrowicz." It's a brilliant book, but it's sort of hard to describe what its appeal is--it's definitely NOT pornography (although that is indeed the meaning of the Polish word "pornografia"). Just really good, provocative writing, about stuff that most American books are not about, I guess.