What I have been reading -1
Polish Girl by Monika Wisniewska.
Subtitle; In Pursuit of the English Dream.
I am the sort of traveller who chooses to have a good book within reach. On mega air journeys I prefer a good read rather than squint at an airline screen fixed to the seat in front. If the book is a ``page turner’’ then all the better. Polish Girl is one of those.
Monika Wisniewska has a master’s degree in EU Economic Relations. She is also an accomplished English speaker. So equipped, it should have been easy to find agreeable employment in one’s adopted country. For our heroine it was not. She gets menial employment at an airport restaurant. Management is not accommodating and work colleagues seemingly have few interests outside money and drinking parties. When homesick she wishes to visit her wonderful Mom in Poland. But her wages are insufficient to purchase the air ticket. Despite her feelings of angst threatening to break her spirit, she hangs in, finding better employment and comfortable lodgings. She is also keen to discover the perfect man to share her life with. She has several relationships. Some offer commendable highlights before turning to custard. So well does she pen her words, I am quickly discovering fault lines in some of her suiters.
Her story begins with the end of her most cherished relationship as her possessions are returned to Poland. The section is headed; ``the path to paradise begins in hell,’’ a quote from Dante Alighieri. Sometime previously she meets John at dancing classes. Things begin well but he is struggling with a messy divorce that appears to have no settlement. I get an inkling John is not being as honest as he should be. He is well-moneyed but losing much of it to the demands of his estranged wife and their son.
When John gets new employment he has Monika move with him to a villa near Amsterdam. It promises to be the beginnings of a new life but while John enjoys many business trips, Monika is left at home. She fills her time keeping the villa looking perfect for John’s infrequent homecomings. She asks herself, how many times she needs to clean the same windows. John has promised to help her find employment but continually reneges. This understandably does not suit our well-qualified outgoing Monika.
Eventually Monika gives John the ultimatum to exclusively commit his life to her. He opts out reciting vague unconvincing reasons. Monika finds solace in an ability to love herself and her own company.
The English dream is finally derailed with Brexit. The vote was partly a racist one wishing to curtail the free movement of people between EU countries. (Blog writer’s opinion.) Monika discovers an unfriendly attitude from some former colleagues.
Polish Girl is Wisniewska’s first book. She published it herself, presumably via Amazon. It is available as an e-book or paperback. It is recommended. A delightful ``page turner.’’ In my dreams I am likely to wish I had met a Monika Wisniewska in my younger life and offered the perfect relationship. I say ``in my dreams’’ as my track record has, sadly, had flaws.
Polish Girl storytelling allows the reader to be occasionally intrigued by snippets of Polish life and culture.
If Wisniewska is an upcoming Polish woman writer, she is not alone. Another Polish woman, Olga Tokarczuk, has written a book Flights. It was the winner of the 2018 Booker Prize.
Maybe something wonderful happens when a Polish girl empties her mind with pen and paper. Or, more correctly, with fingers dancing on a keyboard.