A Thousand Peaceful Cites
“If laughter actually is the best medicine, fortunate readers of this wonderful novel will surely enjoy perfect health for the rest of their days.”
A comic gem, Jerzy Pilch’s A Thousand Peaceful Citiestakes place in 1963, in the latter days of the Polish post-Stalinist “thaw.” The narrator, Jerzyk (“little Jerzy”), is a teenager who is keenly interested in his father, a retired postal administrator, and his father’s closest friend, Mr. Traba, a failed Lutheran clergyman, alcoholic, and would-be Polish insurrectionist. One drunken afternoon, Mr. Traba and the narrator’s father decide to take charge of their lives and do one final good turn for humanity: travel to distant Warsaw and assassinate the de facto Polish head of state, First Secretary of the Polish United Workers’ Party, Wladyslaw Gomulka—assassinating Mao Tse-tung, after all, would be impractical. And they decide to involve Jerzyk in their scheme...
Translated from the Polish by David Frick