Flaw (Paperback)

By Magdalena Tulli, Bill Johnston (Translator)

Archipelago Books, 9780979333019, 175pp.

Publication Date: November 1, 2007



A single streetcar line runs around the sleepy suburban square of an unnamed city. One day--out of nowhere--a group of hapless refugees pour from the streetcar and set up camp in the square. The residents grow hostile to the disruption and chaos, and eventually take matters into their own hands... Flaw is Tulli's most intense and personally motivated work to date, while still retaining the signature mind-and word-play so admired by critics and her growing readership.

About the Author

Magdalena Tulli's other novels include Dreams and Stones and Moving Parts, nominated for the 2006 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and In Red. Flaw has been shortlisted for the 2007 Nike Prize, Poland's most prestigious literary award. Tulli is also the translator of Proust and Calvino into Polish. She lives in Warsaw. Bill Johnston is the Chair of the Comparative Literature Department at Indiana University. His translations include Wies?aw My?liwski[s Stone Upon Stone, and Magdalens Tulli[s Dreams and Stones, Moving Parts, and In Red. His 2008 translation of Tadeusz Ro?ewicz[s new poems won the inaugural Found in Translation Prize and was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Poetry Award.

Praise For Flaw

The originality of Tulli’s writing is not lessened by representing a family tree that includes Michaux, Kafka, Calvino, and Saramago. —W.S. Merwin

Powerful imagery caught in sinewy, architectural, elegiac prose. —Anne Waldman

Like all great works of art, Tulli’s books create something new, something that doesn’t respond to what the reader has been conditioned to expect. —Rain Taxi

Descartes famously entertained the suspicion that the whole of reality was nothing but a devilish imposition upon our imaginations, and in Flaw, Magdalena Tulli, an extraordinary Polish writer who is as much cosmologist as novelist, has fashioned a theater of reality that Descartes’ devil might have dreamed up, a world of sinister politics and slapstick metaphysics, crowded with lonely hearts, refugees, and riot police. The book is coolly charming, funny, and heartbreaking. Even the devil should weep. —Edwin Frank

Johnston has rendered brilliantly Tulli's distinctive narrative voice in Flaw—coolly objective, unimpassioned, disembodied, belonging to no one in particular even when it occasionally adopts one or another character's point of view. Faithful to the Polish in every way that is meaningful, Johnston's translation is also a beautiful piece of English prose narrative. —Slavic and East European Journal

Each successive book of Tulli’s, from Dreams and Stones to Flaw, not only demonstrates the author’s consummate talent, but also ever more clearly defines the independence of her artistic vision. Far from being some reiteration of the avant-garde, Tulli's writing is something enchantingly different from the Polish prose of today and of earlier times. —Tygodnik Powszechny