Books about Krakow and Poland

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Friends often ask about books that we might recommend, and it gives us a great excuse to switch on the kettle and ponder the congenial world of culture. As it goes, there are some excellent guidebooks to Krakow (Dorling Kindersley, Bezdroza and Blue Guide to name just a few), but when it comes to other literature... well, that's another story. There's hardly a jot in the English tongue. The thing is, despite Krakow being the ancient Royal capital, fountain of folk legends, cultural capital etc. no great Polish author has ever deigned to pick up his quill and write that Krakovian masterpiece. Or at least he's never succeeded. So the translators literally have nothing to translate.

But never fear. There's still plenty of great literature to get stuck into. And in this section you'll find tips on all kinds of Poland related books, from worthy nineteenth century novels to lavishly illustrated coffee-table numbers. On the Krakow front, there's a growing number of memoirs in English translation so you're not confined to guide books. And whilst it's true that the great Krakovian novel has yet to be written, there's still time to put one on the map, so sharpen your quill and get writing.

Above: Adam Mickiewicz, Poland's national bard, ponders something imponderable

Book Reviews

For Your Freedom And Ours
Tales From The Underground
Bezdroza City Guides
The Radetzky March
In the Garden of Memory
The Last Mazurka
Krakow:Vintage Photographs

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James Hopkin
United Kingdom

My novel, Winter Under Water, most of which is set in krakow is out now with Picador. It is available in English in Krakow bookshops: Hetmanska, Znak, and the American Bookstore in galeria Krakowska. A Polish edition with Znak will follow in the Spring. For more info please see: www.jameshopkin.org

Reply Nov 3rd, 2007