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Autorstwa Olga Kulig

Okładka książki Poufne, Mikołaj Grynberg

Mikołaj Grynberg’s book, Confidential, was published by the publishing house Czarne in 2020.

Tolstoy said that all happy families are alike, and every unhappy one is unhappy in its own way. But what about the families who had no say in their own fate?

Confidential consists of seemingly unconnected short stories. These stories are photographs of a kind. And photography, unlike literature, is not subject to the laws of Kronos. It frames a picture of the here and now, without past or future. Grynberg has recorded his characters in very intimate poses. He frames them in a slightly ironic way, letting a lot of warm light into his lens. Each photograph is a separate world, a finite whole containing a record of sounds, smells, impressions and feelings. At the same time, one photo leads to another. Some of the recorded gestures repeat themselves, which allows the watchful eye to recognise members of the same family in the characters.

In fact, the book is a kind of family album. It is only when we put all the images together that we see the invisible thread connecting them and giving them a common meaning. That thread is the family. But the family portrayed by Grynberg is connected by more lasting ties than kinship. It is bound together by common memory, trauma and mystery. And above all, mutual love. This is a Jewish family that survived the Holocaust, a family that was supposed to cease to exist, but stubbornly persists. And it will continue as long as the relay of generations continues. And this album is the best proof of that.

Grynberg’s family decided for themselves that they would be happy, and regardless of all external factors, they have consistently stuck to their resolve.

Currently the book is only available in Polish under the name Poufne.

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