Monday, April 29, 2013

The End of the World in Breslau: Krajewski, Kafka, and aspic

The good folks at Melville House, whose international crime list includes Detectives Beyond Borders stalwarts such as Derek Raymond and Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, among many crime writers you ought to be reading, hit the street today with Marek Krajewski's The End of the World in Breslau.

End of the World ... is the second of Krajewski's five novels about about cop and counsellor Eberhard Mock to be translated from Polish into English and the first that I'm reading. A Wikipedia article calls the books "Chandleresque," but the opening pages are both stark and deadpan funny, more like Kafka meets Ken Bruen.

In particular, Krajewski has a knack for juxtapositions humorous in their oddity:
"`Turn it down and stop jumping about at the wheel,' the passenger said ... `We're not in Africa, on some banana plantation.'

"`Motherfucking racist.' Mynors' words were drowned out by the happy chorus ..."
"Rast sprang away as Erwin all but demolished the door as he fled the room. The boy thrust a cap onto his head, wrenched on his somewhat too tight coat and ran into the street.

"`Here is the dessert, ladies and gentlemen: Silesian poppy cake.'"
This, I think, is what critics mean when they write that a novel has texture. I think I'll enjoy reading more of it. (Speaking of texture, one of Melville House's irrepressible marketing force has this to say about the Breslau series: "One of these days I'm just going to go through those books and count how many things embedded in aspic they eat.")

© Peter Rozovsky 2013

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Blogger seana graham said...

Funny, I just happened to be taking a look at the first in the series yesterday.

April 30, 2013  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Krajewski has flair, does he not?

April 30, 2013  

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