Let’s dive right in!
(Found on Goodreads)
1980: The beginning of the polish crisis. Brought up in a small village, country-girl Ania arrives in the university city of Wroclaw to pursue her career as a sculptor. Here she falls in love with Dominik, an enigmatic write at the center of a group of bohemians and avant-garde artists who throw wild parties. When martial law is declared, their lives change overnight: military tanks appear on the street, curfews are introduced and the artists are driven underground. Together, Ania and Dominik fight back, pushing against the boundaries imposed by the authoritarian communist government. But at what cost?
*Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book!
So this book was very hit and miss for me, and for once, I can actually pinpoint why (a shock, I know).
Going into this, I expected to learn more about the Polish Crisis, considering it’s mentioned in the blurb. It’s described as if we’d see just how things were affected during this time, and I – not knowing anything at all about it – was very intrigued.
And I did love reading this book just to find out more about Polish culture. Small details, like how university was or how they ate carp on christmas day, made this book feel genuine. And as someone who has barely travelled anywhere and doesn’t know much about the world, I found it fascinating.
I just wish there was a little more about the actual Polish Crisis. I wish it felt a little more like a historical fiction book. Because while it took place during that time, and while you DO see the affects it had on people, I felt like there was barely anything to it. I didn’t feel that sense of unease I usually get when reading about harsh times. All of the problems felt kind of minor, even though they really weren’t.
Besides that, we had the characters and their relationships. I never got on board with the romances of the story, which were introduced pretty much immediately. It was all very quick and very serious, and I found myself questioning many a time how old the characters were. It made me wonder if people in Poland generally thought about marriage and children when they were quite young, or if these characters went to university at a later age than we do here. It made the difference in culture seem more confusing, because that small thing wasn’t explained.
But being set at a university felt like a big thing. I’ve not seen that often in books, and I loved it. Especially because there was such a huge deal about art. Art is often seen by general society as a pointless thing to study, and so seeing this book basically dedicated around people who study it? Well, it was lovely to see so much passion for it in the pages. Even if you don’t understand art that well yourself (like me), the feelings and atmosphere of each piece is explained, so you get the gist of how important it is.
And so as a standalone, I feel like this book did a fine job. Though it didn’t grab me as much as it could have, I did enjoy getting to see a bit of polish culture mixed in with an appreciation for art.
Rated 3/5 stars
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Until next time…
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