The Eighth Day of the Week by Marek Hłasko

This was a difficult book to find. I bought a copy from my local bookstore, Goodman Books. I am big on supporting local bookstores when I can. I dig through their stacks and look for hidden pearls like this one: translated fiction, difficult to find an eBook copy, and unique story.

A girl, Agnieszka, agrees to sleep with her boyfriend Piotr as long as he can find them “four walls”. They live in post-WW2 Communist Poland. Piotr has just gotten out of prison. Agnieszka lives with her alcoholic brother, her father, and her invalid mother. They also have a mechanic living with them in their tiny apartment. The people of Poland are filled with hoplessness in their Soviet occupied country. They seek small joys in drink, sex, or fishing.

‘Little obscenities are spoken loudly,’ she thought, deftly stepping over a drunk, Big ones are whispered. As for the truth, one doesn’t say it at all. Who can tell whether each truth is not at bottom the greatest obscenity at all?’

Some of the slang and street talk must lose some of its potency after being translated but it’s still a powerful book about the despair of living as a young person in Communist Poland.

Rating: ★★★★

Book #21 in my 2022 Reading Challenge

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