Saturday, June 28, 2008

Dziennik Irlandzki

At last, a book in Polish! When I signed up for the 888 Challenge, I vowed to read 8 books in Polish this year... this is the first one I managed. And it's only fair that I admit that the only reason it's done is that I ran out of books to read while visiting my parents and so decided to try this one. Dziennik Irlandzki is written by Heinrich Boll and so is translated from its original German. Boll, a well-known German writer who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1972 9I must check what he won it for), recounts his impressions of 1950s Ireland. He brings his family there for their holidays and ends up buying a house on Achill Island.

Since Joe is Irish, I like reading books about Ireland anyway. And actually we're going on a big family holiday to Ireland this year and everyone has been reading up about the country, which explains why my parents had this book in the first place. It's made up of 18 mini-stories, each about some observation about the Irish, who, it has to be said, are very unique.

I had two favorite parts. In one, Boll talks about how the Irish are so relaxed and never in a hurry and tells us about a saying of theirs: 'When God created time, he created enough for everybody.' It's true that all the Irish people I know are like this - sometimes this truly infuriates me since I'm more of a manic person. :-)

My other favorite part concerned the way the Irish approach bad things that happen to them. In other countries, when someone breaks a leg or misses a train or something it is always the worst that can happen and everyone laments with them. To the Irish it can always be worse. 'It could be worse' is one of Joe's regular sayings so I don't even ask him of all this is true! It's really a great trait to have, to be able to put things in perspective and it's a wonder to me that a whole nation seems to have it.

I enjoyed the book, although the language is a bit flowery and poetic for me. But Ireland is a poetic sort of place so it fits. And of course Heinrich Boll must have won the Nobel for something!

Challenges: 888 Challenge, Non-fiction Five Challenge

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