Jada̜c do Babadag Epub Ü Jada̜c do Epub /

Jada̜c do Babadag In this postmodern travel book the author ruts around eastern Europe divvying out impressions of this and that in prose that is sometimes lyrical but almost always opaue I never could figure out what the point of this book was There was no cohesion to it and it seemed the author was on drugs most of the time I suppose if you're a Joycean you may enjoy this as it's stream of consciousness prose at its best For the casual reader however it's like listening to a drunken old man with an addled brain recount the misadventures of his youth Seemed like a 10 page essay that became a 250 page book through repetition repetition and repetition This is a po mo travel book travel without identifying context just an endless list of Eastern European place names obscure enough to make you feel at first ashamed of your own ignorance and finally simply annoyed at the repeated refusal to communicate anything that would help us place these places Travel that loses any purpose bc all the places are the same simply names The sense of poverty decay and stasis comes through loud and clear but little else does the narrator fetishizes his own imprecision and inability to remember which on the page becomes frustrating vagueness and for me at least an inability to care about what he's saying The occasional hallucinatorily brilliant vignette the pool party for Romania's jeunesse doree as seen through the eyes of the local filthy feral pig farmer tells you that there was a conventionally fascinating travel book to be had here if only Stasiuk weren't far too cool to write it As it was I forced myself barely to finish Andrzej Stasiuk is a restless and indefatigable traveler His journeys take him from his native Poland to Slovakia Hungary Romania Slovenia Albania Moldova and Ukraine By car train bus ferry To small towns and villages with unfamiliar sounding yet strangely evocative names “The heart of my Europe” Stasiuk tells us “beats in Sokolow Podlaski and in Husi not in Vienna”  Where did Moldova end and Transylvania begin he wonders as he is being driven at breakneck speed in an ancient Audi—loose wires hanging from the dashboard—by a driver in shorts and bare feet a cross swinging on his chest In Comrat a funeral procession moves slowly down the main street the open coffin on a pickup truck an old woman dressed in black brushing away the flies above the face of the deceased On to Soroca a baroue Byzantine Tatar Turkish encampment to meet Gypsies And all the way to Babadag between the Baltic Coast and the Black Sea where Stasiuk sees his first minaret “simple and severe a pencil pointed at the sky”  A brilliant tour of Europe’s dark underside—travel writing at its very best I really don't know how to rate this book Some parts are insanely delightful and poetic this man can write a sentence but in other parts my mind drifted away during some unnecessary ongoing descriptions don't know if that is due to my lack of focus and concentration I did work a lot these days But parts that were good were so original and amazing that this book deserves a high rating after all I don’t usually read travel journals but due to the current situation I wanted an armchair journey The author travels through Eastern Europe but he does not go to capitals big well known cities In his journey he explores small and nearly abandoned places with few or no people and I adored that his traveling is really non commercial and uniue He takes local people to drive him and guide him through their country I was always interested in that kind of traveling through the wilderness and rural areas than visiting big cities Sometimes when I drive past these kinds of places I imagine what kind of life people live there This book provides that answer as a lot of scenes of everyday life or ordinary people are described There is also something interesting that the author does in describing the panorama He doesn’t just describe a material landscape he tries to portray the soul of the whole country He paints a picture in which you learn about lands' historical context psychological characteristics of people who live or lived there politics especially interesting due to the fact many countries where communist countries in near history mixing mythology and philosophy with his inner dialogue Those were the best parts for me when the author was going deep in the inner state of consciousness and explored how different landscapes and countries affect his state of mind That is something that really interests me a connection between external and internal and how one affects the other I think there is a lot to be said about that author himself said that he has to travel due to the inner restlessness I think that people sometimes gravitate to traveling in pursuit of a deeper exploration of outer but also the inner world Physical travel can compensate for the psychological journey or as this book showed one can be parallel to otherWhen I think deeply about this this author is fascinating as is his life I suggest you read about it and I love the way his mind works in giving verbal structure to pictures of lands mixed with his own stream of consciousness I have a feeling he is a type of person that looks at everything in search of the deeper layer beneath the surface I will check out his fiction work for sure If you are interested in travel journeys the never seen face of Eastern Europe and a very original way of using language this book is for you If you enjoy reading about crumbling stucco peeling paintwork places forgotten by time and the outside world the backwaters of Eastern Europe and the Balkans byways hidden by mist melancholia ferries to nowhere drinking in forlorn bars decay the detritus of post communism village suares overgrown with untended trees and sleepy border crossings then this might be the book for you All of these things and others dealt with by the Stasiuk the author fascinate me but somehow his book did not grab my attention as tightly as I hoped that it wouldIs Stasiuk’s writing poetry or is it prose that is on the point of becoming poetry Or is it an almost meaningless ramble of words trying to evoke the meaning of memory Whatever it is one must take one’s hat off to the translator whose task of bringing this text from Polish into English must have been difficult And what a ramble this is Stasiuk’s memories drift from one place to another often without any discernible geographic logic The exceptions are the chapters on Albania and Moldovar which I enjoyed most Even if this book is not my favourite it certainly captures the decaying atmosphere of the lesser visited corners of Eastern and South Eastern Europe places that time and the outside world almost neglect Every now and then Stasiuk makes reference to the Romanian writer Emil Cioran 1911 1995 whom I had never heard of before According to an article in Wikipedia many of his works express torment pessimism and a tragic sense of history These are some of the aspects of the places that fascinate Stasiuk although I felt that he conveys a far optimistic appraisal of the forgotten corners of the fringes of Europe that he visited This book was recommended to me by a friend Would I recommend it I am not sure If you can read fast which I cannot then give it a try If you are a slow reader then give it a missI have rated this book 3 stars but I would have liked to have been able to award it say 275 I almost liked it but not uite Maybe the geographic confusion was a little too much for me I would have preferred a slightly linear set of journeys However as a a literary evocation of the randomness of the memory process the author has succeeded If you enjoy the works of WG Sebald then it is likely that this book by Stasiuk will be up your street A strange little book Since the author jumped around a lot I gave myself permission to read it randomly I was mostly interested in what he experienced in Hungary so I searched out those sections first came across a passage which I will uote in full because it gets to the uirky loveliness of Stasiuk's writing Nothing in Talkibánya a village that hadn’t changed in a hundred years Wide scattered houses under fruit trees The walls a sulfurous bilious yellow the wood carving deep brown the door frames sculpted the shutters and verandas enduring in perfect symbiosis with the heavy Baroue abundance of the gardens The metaphor of settling and taking root appeared to have taken shape here in an ideal way Not one new house yet also not one old house in need of repair or renovation Although we were the only foreigners we drew no stares From the stop in the course of the day four buses departed Time melted in the sunlight; around noon it grew still In the inn men sat from the morning on and without haste sipped their palinka and beer in turn The bartender immediately knew I was a Slav and said pouring “dobre” and “na zdorovye” It was one of those places where you feel the need to stay but have no reason to Everything exactly as it should be and no one raising a voice or making an unnecessarily abrupt movement On a slope above the village the white of a cemetery From windows of homes the smell of stewing onions In market stalls mounds of melons paprikas A woman emerged from a cellar with a glass jug filled with wine But we left Telkibánya eventually because nothing ends a utopia uicker than the desire to hold on to itThe entire book is like this from what I can tell not sure I read it all since I approached it so unsystematically and it made me want to travel the way he does Whimsical receptive his romantic tendencies are leavened with a dark Eastern European sensibility that I found irresistible The work wanders the byways to the villages of the provincial peripheral Eastern Europe region giving the true experience of going there An ode to “non obvious lands Stasiuk studiously avoided the great cities of Europe’s forgotten corner – Warsaw Kiev Belgrade or Tirana Stasiuk is fascinated by legends and fables – the relationship between imagination and place than in plotting seuential events – than by history And by the writers who helped to reinvent or subvert their national mythologies In Hungary he refers to contemporary writers such as Ádám Bodor and Péter Esterházy and to the 19th century national poet Sándor Petöfi In Slovenia it's the poet Edvard Kocbek; in Romania the anti philosophy philosopher EM Cioran fantastical and unreal as Italo Calvino’s fabulist travel fiction Invisible Cities as lyrically meditative as Joseph Brodsky’s memoir of Venetian winter Watermark and nearly as eccentric in its descriptive details as Bruno Schulz’s The Street of Crocodiles the book won Poland's main literary prize the Nike Với những ai hứng thú tìm hiểu về vùng Đông Âu ma mị hoang tàn thì uyển này là kinh điển I would say I finish 95% of the books I start BUt this one didn't make the cut I picked it up because it was about the Balkans and Eastern Europe my favourite places Further the overarching theme the second hand europe that is not really Europe; a land that frightens most that is whispered by Westerners with a certain cautionary toneas the place to travel I understand how the writer might have wanted to have written this book in such a confusing manner because we Eastern EUropeans are as confused as this book However I believe that this book at least according to its Romanian cover does not deliver what it promises On the road to Babadag does not make me want to just pick up my backpack and my tent and just set out to know the least traveled to destinations of this Europe my part of Europe; but it makes me want to put out the book and if anything try and write one myself Which in the end I guess it is also a productive feeling you can get from a book Maybe the best of them all 'On the Road to Babadag' won all possible awards in Poland and for a while it was all everybody was reading and talking about So imagine my disappointment when I started reading it and all I wanted to do was to hurl it against the wall It’s because I thought this would be a travel book I thought Stasiuk would leave some small town in Poland and go through Slovakia Hungary Ukraine Moldova Serbia Albania Bulgaria etc until finally he would reach Babadag Romania where the book would end It is called On the Road to Babadag Travels in the Other Europe after all So what else should I expect I thought Stasiuk would tell me some funny anecdotes I expected some musing over the cultural differences between here and there I thought it would be like Michael Palin’s New Europe only written from a perspective of someone actually from that ‘New Europe’It is not really like that at all This book is just pure poetry and you have to accept that to be able to read it As soon as you do you will embark on a journey that’s one of a kind Stasiuk’s accounts of his travels are non linear context free often confusing full of ‘maybes’ and ‘perhaps’ but what they never lack of is beauty Even if he is fixated on the subject of animal excrement he produces the most lyrical description of cow’s shit Travelling for Stasiuk is not caused by the typical wanderlust It’s of a strong urge to be in the ‘here and now’ He writes when describing a trip he took in Poland before the borders opened “I had no passport then of course but it never entered my head to try to get one The connection between those two words freedom and passport sounded grand enough but was completely unconvincing The nuts and bolts of passport didn’t fit freedom at all It’s possible that there outside Gorzów my mind had fixed on the formula There’s freedom or there isn’t period My country suited me just fine because its borders didn’t concern me I lived inside it in the centre and that centre went where I went”This obsession with here and now is obvious throughout the book because Stasiuk’s descriptions are often careless when it comes to detail and context He disarmingly admits he doesn’t remember where this happened or when or whether it happened at all He can only offer a collection of impressions smells sounds and sights maybe a nameless person here and there some sliver of a dialogueHe stays clear of big cities and famous landmarks He explores the backwater and laments its disappearance He does get high on poverty and destitution You almost get the impression he is offended by every new ATM or internet café which sprouts up in the villages he so fondly remembered to be completely free of any 21st century influence He wouldn’t be the first and won’t be the last travel writer to fetishise backwardness We have to forgive him for that because he writes it all so beauitifully “At the same hour in that same dying light cattle were coming home from Kiev say to Split from my Rozpucie to Skopje and the same in Stara Zagora Scenery and architecture may change and the breed and the curve of horn or the colour of mane but the picture remains untouched between two rows of houses moved a herd sated cattle They were accompanied by women in kerchiefs and worn boots or by children No isolated island of industrialization no sleepless metropolis no spiderweb of roads or railroad lines could block out this image as old as the world The human joined with the bestial to wait out the night together”'On the Road to Babadag' is a lyrical journey through the provinces of Europe and through its subconscious To Stasiuk that Europe is all that there is that’s the centre of his universe it’s where the heart of Europe beats Thanks to that we are spared witty jibes and superfluous comparisons between East and West I would like to be buried in all those places where I've been before and will be again My head among the green hills of Zemplén my heart somewhere in Transylvania my right hand in Chornohora my left in Spišská Belá my sight in Bukovina my sense of smell in Răşinari my thoughts perhaps in this neighborhood This is how I imagine the night when the current roars in the dark and the thaw wipes away the white stains of snow This is the colorful often poetic prose of a seasoned traveler who loves to bypass the tourist hype and seek the unknown Busses trucks trains and walking take him on the than 200 trips into the countries of his soul In a bleak landscape filled with debris of war and wasteland he finds the colorful people in their picturesue environment writing the history of the geographical wonderland he comes across Different languages reside next to each otherand in between Russian is still a nostalgic remnant of a recent past Horse carts with number plates share roads with rustic old cars The people are as ignorant of happiness as they are of the futureI tried to follow the author by Googling his route which resulted in a longer read than actually planned It nevertheless opened a world to me that was previously just a blur of possibilities initiatated by images portrayed in travel programs and limited information provided in news programs We are spurred by the desire to return to the world of dreams which relieves us of our freedom of will and gives in its place the freedom absolute of the unexpected This happens in places rarely touched by the traveler's eye Observation irons out objects and landscapes Destruction and decline follow The world gets used up like an old abraded map from being seen too muchThe old looks bedraggled cast off impotent; the new struts and challenges wanting to overcome both the shame of the past and the fear of the future Everything is temporary ad hoc a verb whose action is never completedClearly I am drawn to decline decay to everything that is not as it could or should be Whatever stops in half stride because it lacks the strength or will or imagination to continue Whatever gives in gives up does not last and leaves no trace Whatever in its passing stirs no regret or reminiscence The present imperfect Histories that live no longer than the relating of them objects that are only when someone regards them This is what haunts me—this extra being that everyone can do without this superfluity that is not wealth this hiddenness that no one explores secrets that ignored are lost forever memory that consumes itself The Balkan States of Eastern Europe are the author's playground which he visits as often as possible The small villages on the map disappears as the ink fades but in reality they also vanish as fast as the political landscape changes That's why I rush to make these trips why I'm so avid for details that will soon vanish and need to be re created out of wordsUnpronouncable exotic names are scattered over his journey Nagykálló Mátészalka Nagykálló Gönc Kamenice Vidice Selenice Borove ChişinăuNobody believes in tomorrow The here and now simply do not show any signs that it will be different from yesterday In the suare an air of indifferent symbiosis Everyone was connected by a time that had to be waited through Seconds and minutes grew swelled and burst open but there was nothing inside The book is a confusing read if you try to track his route The author recalls his past experiences of places when he visited them in different seasons some of them many years previously and that confuses the reader a bitYet his memories are colorful often satirical and generously covered by irony He shares his philosophies and anecdotes and although he finds little reason for optimism he is still infatuated with a region that he deeply loves He does not hesitate to call a spade a spade and does not try to hide his observations of the villages he visits Parody and delirium One must be born in Huşi to smell the poison of melancholy that eats into mind and soul One must be born in Huşi where even the crows turn back to grasp this dream of glory of the native land to understand this nightmareSo that was Chişinău I spent many hours under an umbrella in Green Hills Nistru on the Boulevard of Stephen the Great and Holy at the corner of Eminescu In the pub sat a international gathering speaking in English and German Probably office workers who had chosen to throw away their European and American money in this particular spot Besides them was the growing Moldovan middle class the men wearing gold sporting sunglasses in the common style that combines hood pimp and gigolo the women like the women you see on television practically all with cell phones on silver chains around their necks It is not an exciting fast paced read but it sure is entertaining Apart from having proper guide books visiting these areas a book like this one will relieve the boredom of long train rides or futile hours waiting at a border crossing It might even make you smile But just reading the book on its own merit guarantees a refreshing look on a world we hardly know I certainly enjoyed this introduction by this author to his region where ancient cultures hundreds of years old still prevailed where man and beast never lost their bond and an industrial revolution ended in rust heaps as man made as its dark history At times it was too much but most of the time I was amazed


About the Author: Andrzej Stasiuk

Andrzej Stasiuk is one of the most successful and internationally acclaimed contemporary Polish writers journalists and literary critics He is best known for his travel literature and essays that describe the reality of Eastern Europe and its relationship with the WestAfter being dismissed from secondary school Stasiuk dropped out also from a vocational school and drifted aimlessly became act


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