Originally I chose Juozas Pożera’s book “Złoto. Walet treflowy” because it was written by a Lithuanian (aka Polish neighbour) and I was kinda in a craze inspired by my February A to Z 2014 World Books Challenge. I was like “I don’t really know the contemporary literature of my neighbours” and I was taking as much books from those neighbouring countries as I could. (Am I the only one to crazily borrow books?) Even if, like in this book’s case I couldn’t use it for the challenge. Lithuanian writing about Siberia wasn’t exactly fitting the rules I set, but the description of the cover convinced me. And I have a thing for Siberia, this is one of the regions I’d like to travel to.
Continue reading if you want to know why I chose it as the best book so far.
Złoto. Walet treflowy – Juozas Pożera
Published in Poland: 1982
About the Author
Juozas Pożera (1927-1997) was Lithuanian (born in Kovno) writer, scenarist, journalist and translator. He was travelling a lot through Soviet Union, Siberia included.
About the Book
“Złoto. Walet treflowy” is a set of two short stories. First one – Złoto (Gold) – is about the urge to have gold and greed. It’s set on the Evenk lands in Siberia. The second one – Walet treflowy (Jack of Clubs) – is set on a ship going for north. Former prisoners are a part of its crew. Add to it a sole young lady on the ship…
The book was translated from the Russian translation of originally Lithuanian text.
– Właśnie o to chodzi, że gdybym potrafił tak żyć, nie miałbym powodu ci zazdrościć. Na tym polega nieszczęście, mój kochany staruszku, że nie mogę i nie umiem tak żyć jak ty. Jesteśmy ulepieni z różnej gliny, i nie tylko nasze głowy, ale i tak zwane dusze wypełnione są czymś zupełnie innym. W tym cała bieda… Chciałbym odmienić swoje życie, plunąć na wszystko, ale zdaję sobie sprawę, że nie wytrzymam tu nawet roku i z krzykiem rzucę się do ucieczki, pomknę z powrotem do znienawidzonej, przeklętej cywilizacji… Wierz mi, nie ma dla człowieka nic gorszego niż czekać, kiedy wreszcie pod koniec miesiąca wypłacą mu pensję.
– The point is, if I could live like that, I wouldn’t have the reason to envy you. The bad luck is, my lovely old man, that I can’t and don’t know how to live like you. We’re made from different types of clay and our, so called, souls are filled with something differently else. That’s the problem. I’d like to change my life, spit on everything but I know, I won’t be able to bear even a year in here and I’ll run away screaming, running to the hated, damn civilisation… Believe me, there is nothing worse for a human than wait, when finally at the end of the month they will be paid a salary.
The stories are just perfect. They set the mood, the details and the human relationships perfectly. Nothing is too long or unnecessary. It gets you quickly hooked in the stories. Both stories also talk about love, but it’s done really well. I liked those themes, and I’m not a fan of love themes.
I love the details! It’s so believable and I feel like I was there with them. Too bad I have this book from the library, I wish I had my own copy so I could read it again and again.
There is not a single thing that was putting me off. If I didn’t know it was a two-steps translation, I wouldn’t notice this in text.
My opinion: 10/10.
My level is: Seasoned Traveller (12 books).