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From the publisher
Translated by Kate Webster
White Nights, the debut short story collection from poet Urszula Honek, is a series of thirteen interconnected stories concerning the various tragedies and misfortunes that befall a group of people who all grew up and live(d) in the same village in the Beskid Niski region, in southern Poland. Each story centres itself around a different character and how it is that they manage to cope, survive or merely exist, despite, and often in ignorance of, the poverty, disappointment, tragedy, despair, brutality and general sense of futility that surrounds them. Urszula relates to us, with the sincerest care and honesty, a localised, yet so clearly universal, story of ruin and hope: a story where the protagonists do not ask to be understood, but merely to be seen and to be heard. Kate Webster’s brilliant translation of Urszula’s poetic, yet often earthen, prose brings us to places that, though they are seldom seen in literature, we may never forget.
‘A highly artistic study of death encapsulated in moving stories, [where] the setting seems to be a symbol of a larger (ultimately, cosmic) universe, signalled by a reality that is limited to a small number of characters. Although the seemingly independent stories contain many voices and perspectives, and several parallel time spaces, White Nights is a coherent narrative in which the imagined and dreamlike are intertwined with reality, and the present mixes with the past…White Nights is an extraordinary story about death, which is an inseparable part of life…Honek reveals the bright side of something that is usually only known and seen through darkness.’ - Paulina Subocz-Białek
‘Honek with complete cruelty, but also mastery, symbolically kills her influences. She stands firmly on her own two feet, moving readers with her own voice - immediately clear, set and full.’ - Paulina Małochleb, Empik Critics’ Choice