My First Suicide – Jerzy Pilch
„Pilch’s antic sensibility confirms that he is the compatriot of Witold Gombrowicz, the Polish maestro of absurdist pranks. But readers with a taste for the fermented Irish blarney of Flann O’Brien, Samuel Beckett, and John Kennedy Toole might also savor Pilch.”—Barnes & Noble Review
Neither strictly a collection of stories nor a novel, the ten pieces that comprise My First Suicide straddles the line between intimate revelation and drunken confession. These stories reveal a nostalgic and poetic Pilch, one who can pen a character’s lyrical ode to the fate of his father’s perfect chess table in one story, examine a teacher’s desperate and dangerous infatuation with a student in the next, and then, always true to his obsessions, tell a remarkably touching story that begins by describing his narrator’s excitement at the possibility of a three-way with the seductive soccer-fan, Anka Chow Chow.
The stories of My First Suicide combine irony and humor, anecdote and gossip, love and desire with an irresistibly readable style that is vintage Pilch.
Jerzy Pilch is one of Poland’s most important contemporary writers and journalists. In addition to his long-running satirical newspaper column, Pilch has published several novels, and has been nominated for Poland’s prestigious NIKE Literary Award four times; he finally won the Award in 2001 for The Mighty Angel. His novels have been translated into numerous languages.
David Frick is a professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Berkeley.