Kozlowski (2020)

ROGOYSKA Jane

From acclaimed biographer and filmmaker Jane Rogoyska, Kozłowski: a new novel that explores the tragedy of the Katyń Massacre and the pain of post-war
Polish exile. Kozłowski tells the story of a young Polish army doctor whose life is changed forever by a single, mysterious event: the disappearance, in April 1940, of 4,000 of his comrades from a Soviet interrogation camp in Starobelsk, Ukraine. Exiled in post-war London, Kozłowski builds a new life, working to convince himself that the past cannot affect him. In reality, the past is the only place he longs to be. As the silence surrounding his lost comrades deepens, his attempts to submerge his feelings threaten to destroy him. A novel about loss, memory and guilt, written in sparse and elegant prose.
‘In this heartbreaking novel, Jane Rogoyska writes with tragic power about one of the last century’s foulest crimes – Stalin’s mass murder of his Polish prisoners in 1940. In a fiction boldly using real names and events, she brings the victims of Katyń and the other murder sites, together with their families and the handful of traumatised survivors, back to brief life and hope.’
NEAL ASCHERSON

  • - Année de publication : 2020
  • - Pages : 366
  • - Éditeur : Holland House
  • - Langue : Anglais

A propos de l'auteur :

ROGOYSKA Jane :

Educated at Cambridge University, writer and filmmaker Jane Rogoyska studied film in Leeds and Poland, going on to make a series of award-winning short films and working extensively as  writer and director. She is the author of the acclaimed biography of the German photojournalist Gerda Taro, who died while
reporting on the Spanish Civil War. Gerda Taro: Inventing Robert Capa (Jonathan Cape 2013) is now in development as a feature film based on her own script. Jane continues to work across different media on creative projects in film, theatre and radio including, in 2018, writing and presenting Still Here: a Polish Odyssey for BBC Radio 4, a documentary about Polish deportees to the USSR who settled in the UK after World War II.

La maison d'édition :

Holland House :

Holland House began in 2012 and our first novel ‘The Absent Woman’ by Marlene Lee was published the following year. Since then we have published over 40 books. We focus on literary fiction and non-fiction, ranging from Nathalie Abi-Ezzi’s Paper Sparrows, set in Lebanon, to Emma Darwin’s This is Not…

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  • Geneviève
    14 décembre 2020

    This book is a needed book, because the circumstances of the Katyn Massacre (April 1940) weren't well known untill recently. This story of a young polish army doctor, who was one of the few survivors of the massacre, is a good but harsh testimony of how to survive (or to die) in a soviet prisoners' camp during the 2nd World War. Moreover, - and that is what I found most interesting - it is a book about how to survive AFTER the war, when you are obsessed by your memories, and your efforts to build a new life are unsuccessful. Therefore it is as much a "war book" as a book about identity and the function of memory in our lives. But unfortunately, the writer elaborates these themes in the first part of her novel, when we don't know yet what happened to Kozlowski during the war. This chronological inversion, though trendy, is not welcome here, because the reader doesn't understand fully Kozlowski's psychological behavior. The first part deserves to be re-read after the second (what I did) in order to go deeper into Kozlowski's mind. Anyway, I think it is a very good and important book.

  • Françoise
    14 décembre 2020

    A historical document about World War II in Eastern Europe: Poland's moving/disappearing borders, the Russian-German alliance, the front extending to the Middle-East... The USSR's attitude to Poland with deportations to Kazakhstan, Siberia... Things are seen through the eyes of a young Polish officer: his life before the invasion of Poland, fighting in the war, detention in a Russian prisoners'camp, exile and tentative personal reconstruction in London. I liked reading about a part of history I wasn't familiar with. I empathized with Kozlowski, his energy, his physical and mental suffering. I was impressed by the courage, camaraderie and spirit of resistance of the prisoners. The gradual understanding of what happened to the officers at Katyn is well depicted, as well as Kozlowski's PTSD and its effects on his family. I must admit I found the third part (life in the camp) too long with too many characters : it was difficult to remember and identify them all. However it was perhaps necessary in order to emphasize the main subject of the book. In brief I highly recommend this book.

  • Colette
    14 décembre 2020

    La 1ere partie du livre qui nous emmène de Londres en Perse, en Italie, en Irak, en Palestine à des époques différentes (de 1940 à 1946) et ceci afin d'introduire les personnages principaux est un peu déstabilisante car parfois difficile à suivre . La suite du roman se déroule plus clairement , la chronologie étant respectée et les derniers chapitres remettant tout dans l'ordre .. Comme Françoise j'ai trouvé la troisième partie concernant la vie dans le camp de Starolbesk et cette plongée à la fois dantesque et profondément humaine dans l'univers du camp extrèmement bien rendue, si on excepte des longueurs, une multitude de détails pas toujours nécessaires à mon avis et la difficulté à s'y retrouver parmi tous ces personnages aux patronymes russes et polonais! J'ai été particulièrement touchée par la relation qui s'établit au fil du temps entre Koslowski et Thomacz par l'intermédiaire de leurs soeurs respectives absentes . C'est le moment je trouve où Koslowski habituellement très en retrait et peu expansif gagne en profondeur . Le tempo s'accélère dans les 4eme et 5eme partie , de la vie reconstruite de K . à Londres à ses dernières années où il accepte de faire un travail de mémoire et de reconstruire le passé. Je trouve que c'est dans ces chapitres brefs qu'émergent mieux tous les thèmes sous jacents : le syndrome du survivant, l'impact de la mémoire sur la construction de nos vies, l'acceptation du souvenir, la confrontation avec la responsabilité et le sentiment de culpabilité etc .. J'ai trouvé le style très agréable , sans emphase mais où chaque mot m'a paru pesé et à sa place . J'ai également trouvé de belles qualités d'évocation dans les descriptions. C'est en tout cas un livre que je relirai, avec certainement à la clé d'autres choses à découvrir .

  • MM
    14 décembre 2020

    Je dois avouer que le sujet ne me tentait pas beaucoup au départ, encore un livre sur les horreurs de la guerre, mais j'ai apprécié Kozlowski, au point de considérer que c'est l'un des meilleurs livres de la sélection. J'ai été un peu gênée par la chronologie au début, et j'ai dû le relire pour que l'histoire se mette en place: on a du mal à s'y retrouver entre tous les camps qu'il a fréquentés pendant la guerre. La vie dans le camp est racontée avec précision, il y a certes beaucoup de personnages, mais on s'y retrouve.