New World Avenue And Vicinity
By Tadeusz Konwicki
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1991, 212 pp.
One of Poland's finest writers gives us an account, notebook style, of himself: his aches and pains, his efforts to fend off his pet cat, the reasons he writes and the reasons he doesn't, his memories of childhood near the woods and rivers of vanished Wilno (now Vilnius), his first years in Cracow and Warsaw (he moved to Poland in May 1945). As the entries accumulate, they begin to gain depth and substance in small accretions of seriousness. Necessarily oblique about politics-the book was written in 1986-Konwicki is also something of a tease. About anything whatsoever, although he tells it charmingly, he always tells you less than you want to know.