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Nine Hardcover – 24 May 2007


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Harvill Secker (24 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0436206366
  • ISBN-13: 978-0436206368
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 2.5 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,099,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

`Stasiuk is undoubtedly a gifted writer'. -- Time Out

'One of the most original voices to emerge from post-Communist
Poland...The bleak, scary city, with its sooty snow, concrete tower blocks
and reek of coal dust, is very powerfully evoked'
-- The Times

'The cult Polish writer Andrzej Stasiuk explores the hostile
landscape of Warsaw's criminal underworld: its loan sharks, drug-dealers
and drifters.'
-- London Review of Books

'The writing is intensely atmospheric...brooding, beguiling,
memorable...a serious novel about politics, society, doing what one must;
it approaches the intellect via the senses.'
-- TLS

'impressive for the quality of its prose... a rewarding despatch
from a country undergoing enormous change'
-- Metro - Rev'd Claire Allfree

`...crisp, cool prose is excellent at evoking the nihilism of the
society... poeticising the mundane.'
-- The Leeds Guide

`Nine somehow merges the lyrical inwardness of a modernist urban
prose-poet such as Woolf or Joyce with hard-bitten underworld
suspense...studded with hauntingly graceful and tender passages. If
Quentin Tarantino mutated into a Polish literary novelist his work might
resemble Nine.'
-- The Independent

`a brilliantly written, if dark and sombre, tale of life in Warsaw in the nineties...a must read'
-- Evening Herald

Book Description

Nine is an existential crime novel as well as a major work of art.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk on 30 Dec. 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Andrzej Stasiuk is emerging as one of the most interesting new writers in Post-Communist Poland. His themes seem to constantly explore the disjointed lives of misfits in a society undergoing great changes. As such, Stasiuk is the observer of that change which took place in Poland with the collapse of Communism, the rapid growth of the Free Market, and of the impact on the lives of the less fortunate. In "Nine" one drifts in and out of the lives of a group of individuals living on the fringes of society; tramps, drug addicts, criminals, dodgy dealers. They have an anonymity to them so that, at first, they could be anyone but then something brings them into focus and we place them into a context. And this is also true about the book - initially pointless, difficult to focus on but gradually coalescing into some sort of structure. The book is difficult to get into because of its episodic, almost disjointed quality but the quality of writing rewards the reader. The real focal point of the book, the real glue to it all, is the city, Warsaw, pulsating with anonymous lives and speeding traffic like blood coursing through veins. There is something about the "slice of life" here, just a snapshot, a sampling of anonymous lives.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By glen savage on 3 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback
somewhat not too disimilar to Dorota Maslowska, i have ordered several other boks of this author and i am waitng with bated breath as to the next instalment....
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3 1/2 in fact - excellent language and atmosphere rendering, but weak plot 2 May 2007
By Aleksandra Nita-Lazar - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Pawel leaves his apartment one gloomy morning and... cannot come back. This is the beginning of "Nine" a novel by Andrzej Stasiuk, set in the 1990's in Warsaw, Poland.
Pawel is one of many people, who after the transition were lured by the prospect of earning some money in their own business, which was finally allowed. He borrowed a lot of money from some dubious characters to opn a small store with underwear, and now he is in trouble. He visits his old friends and acquaintances, trying to borrow the sum, at the same time running away from the thugs sent by his creditors.

Pawel wanders around Warsaw, using public transportation most of the time (occasionally a car); looking through the bas of streetcar window, he thinks about the past and sees the changes (or lack of changes) in the city. This is the side of Warsaw that was unknown (or unfamiliar: of course somehow in the corner of my mind I knew that it existed) to me when I lived there (I was at the university at the same time, and had lived in Warsaw all my life): Pawel sees mostly poverty, housing projects or dilapidated old huts on in the suburbs, dirt, the drug addicts and prostitutes at the Central Station, illegal Vietnamese streetsellers...

Stasiuk describes the dark side of Warsaw very suggestively, using strong imaging and words, his prose is very masculine (I usually try to avoid such classifications, but here it is hard to avoid). The atmosphere of the novel is heavy, depressing, with many excellent observations, so that the city life during this transition period can be perfectly reconstructed. Unfortunately, this is all there is. The whole novel is a snapshot of the daily life, and a very good snapshot, but the plot does not really get anywhere, it is only a description of a few days from a life of Pawel and some other characters to who he is connected more or less loosely. All the threads (which are also not very explicitly shown, rather hinted upon) lead nowhere, only giving a general sense of danger and hopelessness. For me, this is a weakness of this book, especially if it is supposed to be a novel. I like Stasiuk's more recent books, in which he focuses on his impressions from travels around Eastern Europe, much better - he is perfects at catching the specific climate of small, forgotten places and at telling stories of ordinary people. "Nine" is not Stasiuk's best, but it gives hope for more translations into English (for now, of what was translated, I recommend "Tales of Galicia").
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Anonymous Lives 30 Dec. 2008
By Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Andrzej Stasiuk is emerging as one of the most interesting new writers in Post-Communist Poland. His themes seem to constantly explore the disjointed lives of misfits in a society undergoing great changes. As such, Stasiuk is the observer of that change which took place in Poland with the collapse of Communism, the rapid growth of the Free Market, and of the impact on the lives of the less fortunate. In "Nine" one drifts in and out of the lives of a group of individuals living on the fringes of society; tramps, drug addicts, criminals, dodgy dealers. They have an anonymity to them so that, at first, they could be anyone but then something brings them into focus and we place them into a context. And this is also true about the book - initially pointless, difficult to focus on but gradually coalescing into some sort of structure. The book is difficult to get into because of its episodic, almost disjointed quality but the quality of writing rewards the reader. The real focal point of the book, the real glue to it all, is the city, Warsaw, pulsating with anonymous lives and speeding traffic like blood coursing through veins. There is something about the "slice of life" here, just a snapshot, a sampling of anonymous lives.
Dull 24 Sept. 2012
By S. Meyer - Published on Amazon.com
I can't comment on whether it was the translation that was bad or just the book itself, but I couldn't make it past about 30 pages. There was no plot, and the author gave us no reason to care at all about the main character, who just seems to drift aimlessly around the city. The pages are filled with seemingly random details, like a plane flying over head, or a tram passing by, or a star twinkling in the night, but these details do nothing to add to the story or to anything really. It reads like a disconnected group of observations, none of which appear particularly insightful, or interesting in the slightest. I wonder what the author's intentions were in writing this.
3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Lousy English translation 10 Aug. 2007
By rkd - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Maybe this novel is good in Polish (po polsku), but the English rendering is terrible. I should have stopped after the third sentence as that set the tone for the entire novel. Painful to read and no doubt does an injustice to the author.
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