Lying Down with Dogs: A Personal Portrait of a Polish Exile Paperback – 1 Oct 2001
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Part biography, part dramatic memoir Lying Down with Dogs recounts the life of Bronek Zygadlo as he undertakes a return journey to his native Poland with his son. The relationship between father and son, uncertain at first, becomes progressively more intimate with Bronek's revelations about his escape from the Russian Army during World War II. The anxiety of war and its impact on families, communities and nations is embodied in the experiences of a comparatively unremarkable man. This lack of celebrity, however, seems to make more acute the readers' empathy with the helplessness of the common man or woman in the face of aggression, prejudice and hatred.
Top Customer Reviews
I found the history enlightening without being oppressive and just enough that was necessary to bring a cohesion to both the father Bronek's (the survivor who trekked the mountains in non-grip ski-boots and ended up farming in Wales) and the son Mark's (the author who is presently restoring boats and furniture in Scotland) story: the former into the shadowy past of the elderly and the author into an obsession and the reactions to the journey.
The book never falls into soppiness nor cliched bonding, but does show the natural way that children start to do for their parents when they notice that the flies are undone or the hair not quite combed.
In general a book that keeps you going from chapter to chapter and gives you a little more knowledge of the world we live in.
If you want to torture yourself into finding out a bit more about Poland at various times (but not the present day), and to look at it through just one person's view, then buy this book.
I truly think that my biggest disappointment was to discover that the memories are of an American born Pole (still Polish I agree).
The other parts of the book that truly made me cringe were the occassional use of Polish. It came over as just showing off the few words that the author knew and thought he could spell.
I'm sorry but this book should have been kept for the family alone to read..........