Eva Stachniak's "Necessary Lies" - Collision of Cultures
I read Eva Stachniak's novel Necessary
Lies with a great interest. This book attracts attention almost
immediately, it is interestingly written and it also talk about important
issues. I also could identify with the main character of the story since
their life stories were similar to mine.
Eva's novel has several layers which are mutually interwoven. The main
character of the story -Anna leaves Wroclaw and Poland to Canada in
a very turbulent time soon after a creation of Solidarity
Workers Union , shortly before a martial law was established. Anna
is awarded a stipend in McGill University in Canada. The memoirs of
Anna's life in communistic Poland are contrasted with her life in rich
and capitalistic Canada. This trip to Canada had lifeling consequences
for Anna and her family. As the story develops we learned that Anna
left Poland not only temporarily. Eventually she is leaving her personal
life behind and her husband, the activist of Solidarity and a long-time
anticommunist. Through Anna's memoirs the reader is familiarized with
the students' revolts of 1968 as well as the times of Solidarity, political
hopes, economical crisis and empty stores. Read more about this difficult
times in the article: Solidarity,
Freedom and Economical Crisis in Poland.
The story is becoming more complex after Anna meets William, a composer
- accidentally born in the same city like Anna although during a different
epoch. William was born in Breslau when it was still an important
center of German culture. Anna was born in Wroclaw, the same city after
World War when its original German population was replaced by Polish
resettlers from the East and other parts of Poland. Both of them
try to understand their heritage, their cultures.
This fragment of story is partly auto-biographical since the author
of the book, Eva Stachniak is originally from Breslau. She had a hard
time to identify herself with this city which does not have a deep Polish
heritage like Krakow or Warsaw. Read Eva's memoirs about Wroclaw (Breslau)
in the article Wroclaw
and Breslau - in Memories of Eva Stachniak, the Author of "Necessary
Lies". Eva, the author, indeed found herself living across
the street from a Breslauer named Jutta.
Anna and William are just fascinated with each other at least partly
due to their similar but also so different background. Eventually their
friendship became a love affair. There is a moral issue, Anna decides
to end her marriage to Piotr, without finding any good excuse except
... that she just felt in love with somebody else. Anna's mother in
Poland cannot agree with her decisions, not only because she cannot
find anything against Piotr, she also has a hard time to accept William,
as a German and a Breslauer in Anna's life. The story is getting more
and more complex after William's death since Anna bitterly realizes
that there was another woman, Ursula, in William's life. Anna finds
Ursula's letters and articles among William's papers. Ursula, a Berliner
and a journalist is an ardent anti-Nazi advocate. She researches historic
documents from the times of war. A meeting takes place between Anna
and Ursula, a difficult one, since both women shared the same men but
since the also share similar ideas they are willing to overcome their
Eva Stachniak's story was a fascinating reading, not only for me but
for many of my friends. In spite of many interwoven threads it was really
easy to follow. The reader is learning a lot about Poland's and Germany
difficult history in different historical epizodes - from the war times
and also the times of Solidarity. I could personally identify with Anna's
and her creator - Eve's experiences since my personal story is similar
in many aspects. My family comes from Silesia
where the clash between German and Polish cultures was the most visible.
My mother learnt German language in the German school during the war
and although many people from my family had a hard time to get to terms
with Germany and German people, my mother made a big effort to overcome
mutual suspicions and had great German friends. I also remember the
times of communism, its different stages, collapse of the economy. I
also came to the USA for a stipend leaving Poland behindů
Visit Eva's website
You can order the book written by Eva Stachniak by Amazon
Check also the most recent book by Eva:
Garden of Venus (Hardcover), by Eva Stachniak
and the article written by Eva Stachniak what inspired her to write this book entitled:
The Story of Countess Potocka in "Garden of Eden"
. Read also Jaga's review: The Life Story of Countess Sophie Potocka in the Historical Background of its Epoch (XVIII/XIX) in "Garden of Eden" - Book Review .
Check articles and links about War World II.
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