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In the Memory of the Forest: A Novel Hardcover – 24 Mar 1997

4.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall & IBD; First Printing edition (24 Mar. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684830302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684830308
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 17.1 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 913,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Even in the days after the collapse of Communism, the Poland of Charles Powers' novel is an "old country in an old Europe", a place that harbours the stories and secrets of a complex, tortured history. When a young farmer named Leszek starts looking into the unexplained murder of a childhood friend in his small hometown of Jadowia, he is led into a dark terrain where difficult truths of war crimes committed by his own family start to surface. It's a complex, literary detective story, rendered in precise, jewel- like prose. Powers, who died in 1996, knows whereof he speaks: a journalist for the Los Angeles Times for more than twenty years, he served as the paper's Eastern European bureau chief from 1986-1991. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

Set in a small Polish village, In the Memory of the Forest revolves around the aftermath of a violent death in the hushed woods beyond the town. As events unfold and the dark, brooding forest yields history's footsteps, one man's tireless search for the truth forces the community to confront long-suppressed memories - of evil and corruption dating back to the communist era and beyond to the German occupation during the war. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is a methodical telling of a village's
struggle with redemption and its attempts to
come to terms with only part of its sordid past.
Poland's communist history starts out as the primary backdrop of this murder mystery. However,
the murder of one slowly becomes secondary to the
old system's silent murder of spirit and morale
in the community. Finally, the old system, now replaced, becomes an inconsequential source of
reconciliation compared to the disappearance of 80% of the village's population at the start of WWII.

This is a hopeful story, for a broader community
than the fictional Poles of the village. Mr. Powers clearly understands that there are victims
at every level of societal horror, and that no
amount of guilt or ingorance can move a community
into salvation. Purposeful recongition of the roles of community attitudes and actions are at
the heart of the redemption of individuals.

The story-telling is marvelous and rich. The characters are real and human -- none of them
pure evil, but all taking part in the history of
a village, and its country. Furthermore, all of
the characters are Polish. There is a distinct lack of Americans in the novel, and a distinct
lack of Americanisms in the book as a whole, in
characters, the plot, the atmosphere, or the
pacing. Settling into this novel is a joy, reminiscent of the pace of life, not the thrilling
romantic life of an American dream world.

This is a story worth reading for the next several
decades.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the most brilliant and powerful books I have ever read. It is thought provoking and real. I thought I knew something of the Polish experiences during World War II but this book gives a fresh new approach. It is living history written by someone who, although was not there to experience it, understands it and respects it. There was no point in this book where I felt Powers had wandered from the main premiss of the story. The only thing that I regret regarding this book is that with Powers death we will not have the experiences of reading more masterpieces from this extraordinary writer. It really is an amazing book and one I could not put down.
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By A Customer on 7 Feb. 1999
Format: Paperback
Read it. It is complex, there is light and dark, there is a distillation of life in it so true, not just to Poland but to all of us. It is said that we each have a book in us, and what a book was Powers'. Only someone who was not Polish could have written it, and only someone who knew Poland could have written it. There is a spirit of generosity and hope that seem all the more poignant for knowing that Powers died soon after writing it, that it was published posthumously and that we will not have more portraits of the people and places that make up Poland. This novel should be as successful as Captain Corelli's Mandolin - like that runaway success, it is written about a war that happened before the author was old enough to fight in it, but more than CCM, it looks at how the tentacles of the past reach forward, despite our best efforts to blot them out.
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Format: Paperback
This book took me longer than usual to get into but it was worth it in the end. The story develops along a number a seemingly disconnected paths until it is all brought together in the last few pages. Until then, as a reader, you are entertained as you try to figure out what is going on and what will happen next. The characters are well written and truly believable. The story sheds light on a dark period of modern history in a sensitive and moving way.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This doesn't appear to be a well known book. The only reason I ordered this book from Amazon was after someone mentioned it briefly on a book forum a good few months ago.

Set in a small village called Jadowia in eastern Poland a young man is found dead in the surrounding forest with his skull smashed in, after the woefully inadequate village policeman finds no leads his friend Leszek (a small farmer) decides to make his own enquires.

This book is set around the time after the fall of the iron curtain, the Russians now have no influence and the country is struggling to leave the old communist system behind. The village life here is bleak, there appears to be a serious drinking problem within the men in the village and the younger generation are continuously moving away leaving an aging population with corrupt officials in charge. At first this appeared to be a standard crime thriller involving dodgy Russians.

But it soon becomes apparent that within this village there are some dark secrets which make the murder of the young man pale into significance.
Things start to happen in the village, stones in people's house foundations start to go missing as well as damage to their front doors, someone has stolen a few headstones from the old Jewish cemetery and why does Leszek's grandpa keep secretly building a fence for which they have no need?

This is not an easy book to get into, you have a huge array of characters all of whom are given some kind of back story and the chapters alternate between being told in 3rd person to being told in the 1st by Leszek, plus add the fact that all of the characters have hard to pronounce Polish names and you can forgive me for thinking this was going to be a hard read.

But it isn't at all.
Read more ›
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