Paweł Huelle

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A novelist and author of a volume of verse, born in Gdansk in 1957, Huelle is a graduate in Polish of the Gdansk University, and has also worked in that city as an employee of the "Solidarity" press office, university lecturer, journalist. Huelle has found enormous success as a writer and been honored with many prestigious awards.

His books, and especially his first novel Weiser Dawidek (1987) - classed by critics as "the book of the decade," "a masterpiece" and "a literary triumph" - have been widely translated. Weiser Dawidek is set in Gdansk in 1957 and concerns the mysterious disappearance of a thirteen-year-old Jewish boy at the end of an unforgettable summer vacation, and the private investigation into the affair carried out many years later by the narrator, one of Dawidek's boyhood friends, whose whole life was changed by the unusual events that happened so long before. Dawidek, the leader of the band of boys, was a mystery in himself: a sort of messiah, miracle-worker and magician, and the emissary of unknown forces. Part thriller and part parable, this detective story is full of historical metaphors and can be read in many ways: as a story of growing up, as a novel of manners and morals, or a political or adventure novel, or even as a philosophical treatise.

The adventurous search for the truth, which reflects the unknowability of the world, also occupies the protagonists of stories included in Huelle's next two books: Stories for a Time of Relocation (1991) and First Love and Other Stories (1996). Here, too, seemingly routine events becomes signs of mystery. Huelle's stories are set in various, scrupulously reconstructed places and historical periods - although they remain associated, for the most part, with the author's home town of Gdansk and its environs. They represent a record of the author's own adolescence and his search for a mythical genealogy and spiritual roots. It is worth adding that a large part is played in this record by the memory of literary texts, so that at times we have to do with pastiche, allusions, and dialogues with contemporary authors or literary predecessors (critics have pointed out many points of contact with Günter Grass and Bruno Schulz), which add another dimension to Huelle's work.

"Writing is the art of telling stories."
Pawel Huelle

Bibliography

  • Weiser Dawidek. Gdansk: Wydawnictwo Morskie, 1987; second, revised edition London: Puls, 1992.
  • Opowiadania na czas przeprowadzki, Londyn-Warszawa: PULS, 1991.
  • Wiersze, Gdańsk: Wydawnictwo Morskie, 1994.
  • Pierwsza miłość i inne opowiadania, Londyn-Warszawa: PULS, 1996.
  • Opowiadania na czas przeprowadzki, Gdańsk: słowo/obraz terytoria, 1999.
  • Mercedes-benz. Z listów do Hrabala, Kraków: Znak, 2001.
  • Byłem samotny i szczęśliwy, Warszawa: Rosner & Wspólnicy 2003.
  • Castorp, Gdańsk: Słowo/obraz terytoria, 2004.
  • Ostatnia wieczerza, Kraków: Znak, 2007.
  • Opowieści chłodnego morza, Kraków: Znak, 2008
  • Śpiewaj ogrody, Kraków: Znak, 2014

Translations:

Bulgarian:

  • Mercedes Benz. Iz pismata do Hrabal [Mercedes-Benz. Z listów do Hrabala], trans. Sylwia Borisowa, Sofia: Colibri, 2009.

Croatian:

  • Mercedes-Benz [Mercedes-Benz], trans. Ivana Vidović Bolt, Zagreb: Meandar Media, 2012

Czech:

  • Davídek Weiser [Weiser Dawidek], trans. Pavel Miňovský. Praha: Mladá Fronta, 1996.
  • Mercedes-Benz, trans. Jan Faber, Zlín: Kniha Zlín, 2010
  • Příběhy chladného moře [Opowieści chłodnego morza], trans. Pavel Peč, Praha: Argo, 2012
  • Poslední večeře [Ostatnia wieczerza], trans. Jan Faber, Praga: Kniha Zlin, 2013

Dutch:

  • Wie is David Weiser [Weiser Dawidek], trans. Karol Lesman, Amsterdam: Amber, 1991.
  • Ik zal jullie over Esther vertellen [Opowiem Wam o Esther], trans. Karol Lesman, Amsterdam: Kasimir, 1992
  • De tafel [Opowiadania na czas przeprowadzki], trans. Karol Lesman, Amsterdam: Februari Boekhandels, 2002.
  • Mercedes-Benz, trans. Karol Lesman, Breda: De Geus, 2003   

English:

  • Moving House and Other Stories [Opowiadania na czas przeprowadzki], trans. Antonia Lloyd-Jones, London: Bloomsbury Press, 1994; trans. Michael Kandel. New York; San Diego: Harcourt Brace, 1995.
  • Who was David Weiser? [Weiser Dawidek], trans. Antonia Lloyd-Jones. London: Bloomsbury, 1991, 1995; trans. Michael Kandel. New York; San Diego [etc.]: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1992; 1994.
  • Mercesdes-Benz [Mercedes-Benz], trans. Antonia Lloyd-Jones, Serpents Tail Publishing, 2005.
  • Castorp, trans. Antonia Lloyd-Jones, Serpents Tail Publishing, 2007
  • Last Supper [Ostatnia wieczerza], tłum. Antonia Lloyd-Jones, Serpents Tail Publishing, 2008
  • Cold Sea Stories [Opowieści chłodnego morza], trans. Antonia Lloyd-Jones, Londyn: Comma Press, 2012

Finnish:

  • Kuka olet David Weiser? [Weiser Dawidek], trans. Kirsti Siraste. Helsingissä: Otava, 1995.

French:

  • Weiser David: [roman] [Weiser Dawidek], trans. François Rosset. Lausanne: l’Âge d’Homme, [impr. 1990].
  • Rue Polanki et autres nouvelles [selection of stories from: Opowiadania na czas przeprowadzki; Pierwsza miłość], trans. Jean-Yves Erhel. [Paris]: nrf: Gallimard, 2000.
  • Mercedes-Benz : sur des lettres à Hrabal [Mercedes-Benz: z listów do Hrabala], Paris: Gallimard: nrf, 2004.

German:

  • Weiser Dawidek: Roman (Weiser Dawidek), trans. Renate Schmidgall. Frankfurt am Main: Luchterhand-Literaturverl., 1990; Hamburg; Zürich: Luchterhand-Literaturverl., 1992; Frankfurt am Main: Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verl., 1995.
  • Schnecken, Pfützen, Regen und andere Geschichten aus Gdansk [Opowiadania na czas przeprowadzki], trans. Renate Schmidgall. Hamburg; Zürich: Luchterhand-Literaturverl., 1992.
  • Mercedes-Benz. Aus den Briefen an Hrabal [Mercedes-Benz], trans. Renate Schmidgall, Frankfurt am Main: Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verl., 1996; München: C. Beck, 2003; dtv, 2005
  • Verschollene Kapitel: litararische Feuilletons, trans. Renate Schmidgall. Hamburg: ROSPO, cop. 1999.
  • Silberregen: Danziger Erzählungen [Pierwsza miłosc], trans. Renate Schmidgall. Berlin: Rowohlt-Berlin, 2000.
  • Castorp, trans. Renate Schmidgall, München: C. H. Beck, 2005.

Hebrew:

  • Castorp, trans. Rafi Weichert, Xargol, 2009

Hungarian:

  • Mercedes-Benz: levelek Hrabalnak [Mercedes-benz: z listów do Hrabala], [trans. Kertész Noémi]. Budapest: Európa K., 2003.
  • Utolsó vacsora [Ostatnia wieczerza], trans. Körner Gábor, Európa 2009.

Italian:

  • Cognome e nome Weiser Dawidek [Weiser Dawidek], trans. Vera Verdiani. Milano: Feltrinelli, 1990.
  • Lumache, pozzanghere, pioggia: racconti per il periodo del trasloco [Opowiadania na czas przeprowadzki], trans. Vera Verdiani. Milano: Feltrinelli, 1995.

Lithuanian:

  • Mercedes-Benz. Iš laišku Hrabalui [Mercedes-Benz: z listów do Hrabala], trans. Vytautas Dekšnys, Vilnius: Baltos Lankos, 2011

Norwegian:

  • Hvem var Dawid Weiser? [Weiser Dawidek[], trans. Jan Brodal. Oslo: Gyldental Norsk. Forl., 1991.

Portugese:

  • A Última Ceia [Ostatnia wieczerza], trans. Teresa Fernandes Swiatkiewicz. Estoril: Sopa de Letras, 2008.
  • Mercedes-Benz - Cartas a Bohumil Hrabal [Mercedes-Benz], trans. Teresa Fernandes Swiatkiewicz. Estoril: Sopa de Letras, 2008.

Romanian:

  • Mercedes-Benz: din scrisorile către Hrabal, Iasi: Polirom, 2004.

Russian:

  • Vajzer Davidek [Weiser Dawidek], trans. V. Klimovski, Sankt-Peterburg: Azbuka-Klassika, 2003.
  • "Mersedes-benc": iz pisem k Grabalu [Mercedes-Benz: z listów do Hrabala], Moskva: Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie, 2004.

Serbo-Croatian:

  • Mercedes-benz: iz pisama Hrabalu [Mercedes-benz: z listów do Hrabala], [trans. Milan Duškov]. Beograd: Narodna Knjiga - Alfa, 2003.
  • Gdje je David Weiser? [Weiser Dawidek], Zagreb: Nakl. MD, 2005.

Slovenian:

  • David Weiser [Weiser Dawidek], trans. Jana Unuk, Ljubljana: Beletrina, 2008

Spanish:

  • Quién es Weiser Dawidek [Weiser Dawidek], trans. Pilar Gil Cánovas. Barcelona: Seix Barral, 1991.
  • Mercedes-Benz: segúun cartas a Bohumil Hrabal [Mercedes-benz: z listów do Hrabala], trans. Pilar Gil Cánovas. Barcelona: El Aleph, 2003.
  • Castorp, trans. Anna Rubió Rodon. Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 2011.

Swedish:

  • Vem var Dawid Weiser? [Weiser Dawidek], trans. Anders Bodegård, Stockholm: Bromberg, 1995.