The intercom is a device that is well known to everyone who lives in a block. By weird chance, in my house it is more often broken than working, but it is possible that the heat has done something to it. Actually, I am not surprised; it doesn't help me either. The intercom allows young people to avoid running up and downstairs, taking the lift and verbal communication between the ground and the tenth floor, which is ineffective and annoying for the neighbours. It turns out that in the imagination of some people, the intercom may be a tool used to torture residents. And I am not talking about nasty jokes of bored teenagers.


Spurred by three excellent books about the prosecutor Szacki, I went for the next book by Zygmunt Miłoszewski. I expected another criminal novel, the more so since "Intercom" starts with the bloody death of a resident of an apartment block in the Warsaw district of Praga. The police appear at the block and ... this is the end of the criminal story.


"Intercom" is a thriller with surprising plot twists written in the style of Carlos Ruiz Zafon. In the foreground we have a loving young couple who intend to start their new life in Warsaw. You can imagine that a headless corpse on the day of their arrival is only the beginning of a streak of unusual and scary affairs. The nightmare affects not only these new residents. The majority of them struggle with their own demons that terrify them at night.


It is likely that everybody at some point in their lives, for sure before their high school exams, touched on the subject of war and concentration camp literature. These books were not easy. I do not know anybody who has read them without emotion and astonishment close to terror that human beings can do such terrible things to other people.


War lectures might be different. Some are deeply rooted in difficult history and are presented almost naturalistically. Others treat reality as a backdrop to fictional goings-on. I would place "The Book thief" by Markus Zusak somewhere in between. The book tells us about the Holocaust but relates these tragic times in a remarkable way, because the author gives the narration to ... Death.


The book starts in 1938 when the main character Liesel drives by train to Molching close to Munich where she will live with a foster family. This trip will leave a shadow on the child's delicate psyche. The girl lives in dangerous times marked with pain, separation and loss. Only books and friendly people make those times a little more colorful. Liesel's life is changed not only by books, which she steals almost habitually and perfectly, it is also changed by a young Jew called Maks, thanks to whom she learns she has a gift for changing thoughts and dreams into amazing words.


Reportedly every counterfeiter of a work of art makes their own creation. Copying established artists they append their own heart, engagement, abilities and work. When does a painter, sculptor, writer become an artist? They need talent... but is it always the way? Certainly they have to be discovered, recognized and advertised, and a well-established art critic has to say, "It is good". When an artist has a chance to come into being, he either takes a chance or not, but that's another story.


Such a cognoscente of art, a figure equally eccentric and opinion-forming, is Virgil Oldman (Geoffrey Rush) the main character of the intriguing movie "Deception" by Giuseppe Tornatore. He leads an organized life, trades at an auction house, and is surrounded by respect, richness, and art. He allows himself small vagaries, prejudices or habits of a confirmed bachelor. He continually wears gloves, doesn't have a mobile phone, doesn't like strangers, and confides only in his friend and partner, Bill Whistler (Donald Sutherland). Is anything forbidden to a nabob?


Into his stable life enters a mysterious young girl, Claire Ibbetson (Sylvia Hoeks). After the death of her parents she inherits their estate, which she decides to have valued, thinking about selling it. To begin with she puts Virgil's patience to the test by not coming to meetings and coming up with various unlikely excuses. Her behavior is frustrating and intriguing and Virgil, despite early unwillingness, accepts the job. He doesn't suspect how much his acquaintance with this young lady will change his life.


"Where the shadow does not reach" by Hanna Kowalewska starts quite simply. Inka, a young graphic designer working in Warsaw, receives a telegram from a long-lost relative. Full of misgivings, she gets on a train and travels to a sleepy little town on the Hel peninsula.


This is where simplicity ends. Who on earth sends telegrams in the 21st century...? Her misgivings are not unfounded and it turns out that Inka's aunt Berta is dying. She wants to say goodbye and before her death tells the girl something very important. The ill aunt is being taken care of by relatives and friends from the neighbourhood, and Inka encounters an unusual wave of anger, unwillingness and dislike.


What kind of mystery is the private, introverted girl hiding? Why is she so afraid of her 'brother' Zygmunt's imminent arrival. What is the house in the middle of Jantarnia hiding?


It is not only Inka who cannot find her way due to difficult experiences from childhood. The majority of her friends from her school days experience unrequited love. The older people of Jantarnia also do not have an easy life. They face quarrels, family violence, betrayals and lack of acceptance.


We have known for a long time that some people should not have children. Unfortunately, unpredictable fortune endows such people with children easily and light-heartedly. Within such families only youngsters with big determination can become good people. The titular Matilda in the book by Roald Dahl has just such a will to fight by using her superior intelligence. The book won the distinction of best book for children in 1988, and I completely don't understand why I came across it only today. But better late than never.

In the home of a couple of stupid, dishonest and greedy parents there lives a real diamond. This sensitive, clever young girl does not find support from her closest relatives and learns how to read and do complicated mathematical tasks on her own. She discovers at the same time a taste for revenge. Under the friendly eye of a librarian she explores literature, starting from children's fiction and ending with classics by Dickens and Hemingway. Finally, she goes to school where she meets two extremely different kinds of personality; the delightful  teacher, Miss Honey, and the authoritarian and cruel headmistress, Miss Trunchbull. Matilda also uses her intelligence and extraordinary skills at school to punish wicked adults. "Matilda" is a book for everybody; a happy, smiling lesson which is ideal for a summer holiday afternoon with children. The value of it will be recognized by intelligent adults as well. This book should be obligatory for anyone whose intention is the enlargement of their family, and for these adults who think that being an adult gives them the right to speak down to children. The book teaches us that little people also have intelligence, ideas, and determination, which adults do not expect them to have. What can a small child understand after all.....

© DomowyPatchwork - All Rights Reserved.

mapa strony