Swallowing Mercury by Wioletta Greg
A sparkling little gem of a book – there is a freshness and truthfulness in Wioletta Greg’s writing that reminded me of Elena Ferrante and Tove Jansson.
– Carys Davies
Wiola lives in a close-knit agricultural community. Wiola has a black cat called Blackie. Wiola’s father was a deserter but now he is a taxidermist. Wiola’s mother tells her that killing spiders brings on storms. Wiola must never enter the seamstress’s ‘secret’ room. Wiola collects matchbox labels. Wiola is a good Catholic girl brought up with fables and nurtured on superstition. Wiola lives in a Poland that is both very recent and lost in time.
Swallowing Mercury is about the ordinary passing of years filled with extraordinary days. In vivid prose filled with texture, colour and sound, it describes the adult world encroaching on the child’s. From childhood to adolescence, Wiola dances to the strange music of her own imagination.
Wioletta Grzegorzewska, Wioletta Greg is a Polish writer, born in a small village in 1974 in Jurassic Highland in Poland. In 2006, she left her country and moved to the UK, where she currently resides in the town of Ryde on the Isle of Wight. Between 1998 – 2012 she published six poetry volumes, as well as a novella Guguły, in which she’s covering her childhood and the experience of growing up in Communist Poland. Greg’s short stories and poems have been published in: Asymptote, The Guardian, Litro Magazine, Poetry Wales, Wasafiri, The White Review. Her poetry book Finite Formulae & Theories of Chance (Arc Publications, 2014) has been shortlisted for the 2015 Griffin Poetry Prize. Wioletta has won The Goldene Eule 2015 in Vienna. In 2012 an Arts Council-funded audio recording project of the British Library, Between Two Worlds: Poetry and Translation, recorded her poetry. Her works have been translated into English, Catalan, French, Spanish and Welsh.
By Wioletta Greg
Translated by Eliza Marciniak
Published by Portobello
Publishing date: January 5, 2017
As is tradition, along with the inauguration of the Bologna Children's Book Fair, the Book Institute's catalogue "Polish Books for Children & Young Adults" premieres, presenting excellent Polish books for young audiences that were published last year.