Marek Ławrynowicz

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  • fot. Ela Lempp

In his novels Marek Ławrynowicz describes the ever changing history of Poland in the last century. The Devil on the Belfry is a story of a Polish family portrayed on the background of events starting at the beginning of the World War I and ending during the times of the Warsaw Treaty. Cinema Szpak is a look at the Polish Peoples' Republic through the lens of the author's home town, Falenica. Being a realist, Marek Ławrynowicz uses his own history and the history of his family (his parents come from near Vilnius) and he shows - with quite a large dose of satire - how in a life of an individual, the great historical events can turn into something grotesque and absurd. Skilful combination of comic and tragic, erotic, fantastic, folk and naturalistic elements result in the fact that Lawrynowicz can be classified as being the successor of Hrabal's literary tradition. Marek Ławrynowicz was born in 1954, in Warsaw. He graduated from the department of Polish Philology at the Warsaw University. Thanks to his father - a Russian language teacher - he has an in depth knowledge of Russian literature. He worked as a pastry-cook (he specialised in French pastry) and as a librarian. During the 1980's he was a poet-performer, he founded a cabaret called "Polzart". He wrote satirical stories about Mr Jar [pan Sloik] for Channel 3 of the Polish Radio. He published a book of poems titled Wiersze [Poems], a mini collection of satirical stories titled Pan Sloik [Mr Jar] and novels: Captain Car, The Devil on the Belfry (W.A.B 1998) and Cinema Szpak (W.A.B. 2000). The author of The Devil on the Belfry is a talented storyteller. The most common and, as it would seem, unappealing events and situations are transformed by Lawrynowicz into brilliant anecdotes. These do not necessarily have to be trifling stories. In some cases (in Cinema Szpak) we can find mini stories which cause reflection. Regardless of everything else, the author was successful in picturing a lot of the old climate and customs. At the same time he demonstrated how much the world is changing in its form. A secondary school student of today would have difficulties in identifying himself with students portrayed in this novel, not to mention the impossible to understand, from today's perspective, cult of a drink which plays almost a magic role in Cinema Szpak, and is called "jabol" (a cheap wine made from apples - translator's note).
(Dariusz Nowacki)

In 2000 the C.H. Beck publishing house introduced The Devil on the Belfry to the German market (Der Teufel auf dem Kirchturm). It was translated by Renate Schmidgall.

Bibliography

  • Kapitan Car (powieść), Warszawa: Wydawnictwo WKMS, 1996.
  • Diabeł na dzwonnicy (powieść), Warszawa: WAB, 1998.
  • Kino Szpak (powieść), Warszawa: WAB, 2000.
  • Pogoda dla wszystkich (powieść), Warszawa: WAB, 2003.
  • Korytarz (powieść), Warszawa: WAB, 2006.

Translations: 

German:

  • Der Teufel auf dem Kirchturm [Dzwonnica], trans. Renate Schmidgall, München: C.H. Beck 2000; München: Dt. Taschenbuch-Verl., 2004.
  • Lehrjahre des Gammelns [Kino Szpak], tłum. Renate Schmidgall, München: C.H. Beck 2002.

Ukrainian:

  • Pogoda dlâ vsih [Pogoda dla wszystkich], Kijów: Nora-Druk, 2005.