Archipelago Books, Hardcover, 9780976395003, 133pp.
Publication Date: October 1, 2005
In "Moving Parts "a feckless, comical narrator struggles against all odds to tell a story for which he is responsible, but which he neither controls nor understands. His characters multiply, repeat, and go astray; his employer is paying no attention, asleep in a drunken stupor. The increasingly desperate narrator clambers over rooftops and through underground passages, watching helplessly as his characters reappear in different times and settings and start rival stories against his will.
This thought-provoking, wryly humorous work from the acclaimed author of "Dreams and Stones" tells of the sadness of the world and of the inadequate means that language and storytelling offer us for describing and understanding it. Yet it does so in Tulli's characteristically clear, concrete, gorgeous prose, and, as with "Dreams and Stones," the book is a delight to read. This extraordinary work, utterly unique both in its form and its message, shows a European master at the height of her powers and constitutes a major contribution to a new century of European literature. "Moving Parts" was shortlisted for the 2004 Nike Prize, Poland's most prestigious literary award. W.S. Merwin claims, "The originality of Tulli's writing is not lessened by representing a family tree that includes Michaud, Kafka, Calvino, and Saramago.
Bill Johnston is Director of the Polish Studies Center at Indiana University. In addition to Jerzy Pilch, he has translated the work of Witold Gombrowicz, Magdalena Tulli, and Stefan Zeromski, among others. In 1999 he received a National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship for Translation, in 2005 he was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, and in 2008 he won the inaugural Found in Translation Award--presented annually to the translator of the finest Polish-English literary translation of the year--for Tadeusz Rozewicz's New Poems.