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godz. - 16:45

"Where the shadow does not reach"


"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.


"Where the shadow does not reach" is a novel about people's fate. The author portrays every hero in a very expressive way: passionate Tamara, always waiting Anna, cowed Patykowa, inspirational Truda, and snarky Dominikowa. Passion and love go haywire, first with hope and expectation and then suddenly with hate, breakup and despair. You may find here forgotten habits of saying goodbye to the dear departed in their homes; prayer vigils and then removal of the body for the funeral.


For me the most memorable character is old Weronika. She is part sorceress, part herbalist; illiterate but also very intuitive. She bestows chosen people with pieces of amber and draws picture messages to God in the sand. Such people do not exist in the modern world anymore.


In Hanna Kowalewska's novel there is warmth, humour and sparks of sunshine. Thanks to this, the difficult theme of a close person's death does not overwhelm with sadness but leads to reflection and meditation on a tangled family history.


This book does not leave you untouched. I do recommend it!

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