The Eighth Day of the Week: 05/01/09
I picked up The Eighth Day of the Week the debut novel from Marek Hlasko at a Bookcrossing meeting a year ago. I picked it up because when I was a film student I rather enjoyed Polish films from the same time period but I really didn't know anything about Polish literature.
The novel is a frustrated romance between Agnieszka and Pietrek. They want a moment together to consummate their relationship but where can they find the time when everyone is struggling just to meet the basics of life? Agnieszka while madly in love is still an idealist and doesn't want their rendezvous to seem cheap. At the same time she's not sure she wants to wait for Pietrek to borrow a room from a friend.
Against this romantic farce is Warsaw still trying to rebuild after near total destruction during World War Two. There are shortages in food, a lack of jobs, a lack of money and a lack of freedom. Agnieszka and Pietrek's relationship brings humanity back into the picture.
Like the films I saw in college, The Eighth Day of the Week is really more a moment in time, a vignette, than it is a full story arc. By the end of things, they have exhausted all of their initial plans but they have a new plan. Whether or not it works is left up to the imagination.
books | fiction | Marek Hlasko | 1956