Miss Nobody

Doubleday, 1999 - 296 pages
Marysia Kawczak is growing up in the gray flatlands of Poland, where she feels she is predestined to become -- like her mother -- a house slave, "a 210-pound lump of fat with varicose veins." At the age of fifteen, Marysia moves with her parents to the nearest big city, where she meets two streetwise girls, Kasia and Eva, who -- each in her own way -- begin to teach Marysia the secrets of life. Marysia's drab outlook suddenly gains color as she discovers not only the ostensible ways of the world, but also the subtler experiences of love, sex, desire, passion, and -- finally, in the novel's breathtaking conclusion -- betrayal.

Combining elements of straightforward contemporary fiction, the metaphysical, fairy tales, and the epic, richly layered styles of Dostoevsky, Flaubert, and Mann, and -- perhaps above all -- brilliantly capturing the affectless voice of a young girl, Tomek Tryzna has made an astonishing literary debut. This dazzling novel is sure to be widely discussed and lavishly praised.

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