- 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)
In the Memory of the Forest: A Novel Hardcover – 24 Mar 1997
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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
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 ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Odd book. I wonder what a Pole would make of it. But a strong compelling narrative with interesting characters and a few surprises along the way. Read morePublished 17 months ago by HSJ Foster
A beautiful book, sadly the authors only novel before his death.
I gather that the author was a Pulitzer prize nominee and spent some years in Warsaw. Read more
Bought this book from a second hand charity shop and was delighted to find that I had discovered a diamond of a book. Beautifully written and crafted. Profoundly moving. Read morePublished on 13 Jan. 2009 by Rabia
A marvellous book that unearths a magnificent sense of place and time in a Polish village. Rolling the two up the book manages an ending that is unforgettable and hugely affecting.Published on 18 Jun. 2001
I loved this book, which is written with depth and sublety. Novels about the Second World War and its aftermath can be found on any bookshelf, but not specifically about Poland. Read morePublished on 9 Jun. 1999