Wednesday 3 July 2013

The Lullaby of Polish Girls

Finished July 2
The Lullaby of Polish Girls by Dagmara Dominczyk

This novel follows three young Polish women through their adolescence and young womanhood. Anna emigrated to the United States with her family when she was seven, refugees due to her father's involvement with the Solidarity movement. She first returns to Poland at the age of thirteen, and befriends Justyna, a girl her own age, whose mother was friends with her own mother. Another young girl Kamila, also friends with Justyna begins to write her, and for several years after Anna returns to Poland for the summer, a time of year where she is the envied one, stylish and well-off. The rest of the year she wears her mother's hand-me-downs and works part-time jobs to raise money for her summer holidays, definitely not the cool girl at school, Justyna is promiscuous and uninterested in school, dropping out early to work, marrying young and having a child soon after. Kamila is, early on, the fat friend, but soon overcomes that. She never regains the confidence she should have however and falls in love early with another friend, a boy himself conflicted about his sexuality. The three young women connect, grow apart and reconnect repeatedly due to their personalities and the summer only link to Anna. The story moves back and forth over the years, so their stories are revealed in excerpts, with background getting revealed after following events, and links between events coming to light later. The story reveals the lives of young people in Poland as it emerges from the Iron Curtain, showing both the uncertainty of these characters lives, and the strong links between them. A fascinating tale.

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