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Beschreibung des Verlags
"The Polish postwar firebrand Andrzej Bursa acquired a reputation as a quick-burning, existentially tormented rebel. . . . Yet Bursa's dark humor and deadpan satire . . . keep utter bleakness at bay."—The Independent
"A revolution against the banality of everyday life."—Gazeta Krakowska
A young university student named Jurek, with no particular ambitions or talents, is adrift. After his doting aunt asks him to perform a small chore, he decides to kill her for no good reason other than, perhaps, boredom. Killing Auntie follows Jurek as he seeks to dispose of the corpse—a task more difficult than one might imagine—and then falls in love with a girl he meets on a train. Can he tell her what he's done? Will that ruin everything?
"I'm convinced—simply—that we are all guilty," says Jurek, and his adventures with nosy neighbors, false-toothed grandmothers, and love-making lynxes shed light on how an entire society becomes involved in the murder and disposal of dear old Auntie. This is a short comedic masterpiece combining elements of Fyodor Dostoevsky, Jean-Paul Sartre, Franz Kafka, and Joseph Heller, coming together in the end to produce an unforgettable tale of murder and—just maybe—redemption.
Andrzej Bursa was born in 1934 in Krakow, Poland, and died twenty-five years later. In his brief lifetime he composed some of the most original Polish writing of the twentieth century. Killing Auntie is his only novel. His brilliant career and tragic early death established him as a cult figure among restless and disenchanted youth.
Disaffected university student Jurek struggles to dispose of the corpse of his aunt a "very, very good woman" whom he murdered, for no apparent logical reason, with two hammer blows to the head in this deliciously wicked novel by the late Polish author Bursa, who died at age 25. In an introduction to the book from the publisher, readers are guided to read the story, which was first published in 1969, as "a commentary on the political situation of 1950s Poland." While an allegorical framework would certainly help to explain some of the book's surrealistic elements and particularly its turn toward dream logic in the final chapters contemporary readers will also find plenty to enjoy (one sequence of unwitting cannibalism is particularly memorable) in the story itself. It amounts to a sustained tirade against what Jurek calls the "housands of days, thousands of hours, during which nothing ever happens." Jurek's cruelty and misanthropy are matched only by his lust for excitement. Observing a fire into which he'll soon place his aunt's foot, he admires the "transformation of frail dry flakes now crackling in scarlet opulence." As he makes various attempts to get rid of his aunt's body sawing it, burning it, mailing it, and even enlisting the help of his girlfriend, who briefly rekindles his "faith in life" the reader will find surprising sympathy for this odd character.