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Winter Under Water

by James Hopkin

This is a tale of two love stories: one between English Joseph who follows married mum Marta to her native Poland to continue their affair, the second between a man and a country which explores what it means to belong. I found the first rather melancholic and slow-moving, but the second is suffused with poetic, elegant language which creates a real sense of place (pre-EU midwinter Krakow) and a true understanding of loneliness.

Extract

And it dawns on him how much his life changed: from travelling about in his own country, in his car, on his own, to living in the centre of a city in a strange country, entirely dependent on his two hands and feet, his tongue, his talents, and where you have to have faith in people ... if only because of their number and proximity and because you understand only one in five of the words that they don't so much speak as rush out of their mouths.

Parallels

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
Poland by James Michener
 

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